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3 1833 01964 3078 

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London and Middlesex 

Historical Society (Ont.) 
Transactions ... London and 

Middlesex Historical Soc . 



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Ibistorical Society 


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1bi8torical Society 

TRANSACTIONS, 1909-1911 





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2ND Vice-President— MISS Macklin. 
Secretary-Rev. Geo. M. Cox. 
Treasurer— JOHN Dearness. 
Curator-Dr. S. Woolverton. 


Miss Moore, Thos. Bryan, Cl. T. Campbell, m.D. 
AUDITORS- Thos. Bryan, Cl. t. Campbell. 


Armstrong, George W. 
Baker, Samuel 
Bartlett, Walter 
Becher, H. C. 
Beattie, Mayor J. H. A. 
Beattie, Major T., M.P. 
Beck, Hon. Adam 
Bland, R. R. 
Brickenden, G. F. 
Brickenden, Mrs. G. F. 
Brown, Miss Rose 
Bryan, Thomas 
Buchner, U. A. 
Cameron, Sheriff D. 
Campbell, Dr. CI. T. 
Campbell, Mrs. CI. T. 
Chapman, J. H. 
Cottam, John 
Cottam, Bart. 
Cowan, R. K. 
Cox, Rev. Geo. M. 
Coyne, Miss M. H. 
Cronyn, Hume 
Daly, J. M. 
Davidson, S. K. 
Dearness, John, M.A. 
Duffield, J. C. 
Edmunds, P. J. 
Elliott, Judge Edward 
Evans, Mrs. 
Fraser, Alex. 
Fraser, Mrs. Alex. 
Friend, John 
Gates, H. E. 
Greenlees, Andrew 
Gunn, G. C. 
Hambly, Jno. H. 
Hammond, F. J. 
Harvey, Alex. 
Healey, Mrs. C. 
llobbs, Thos. S. 
Hoag, J. P., B.A. 
Hughes, Dr. F. W. 
Hunt, J. A. 

Hutchinson, Dr. T. V. 
Jeffery, A. O., LL.D. 
Jones, J. W. 
Judd, J. C, K.C. 
Little, Col. J. W. 
Landon, F., B.xV. 
Labatt, John 
Lawson, Frank 
MacDonald, Dr. P. 
McQueen, Alex. 
McCrimmon, D. 
Macklin, H. 
Macklin, Miss Stella 
Minhinnick, Miss G. 
Mitchell, B. A. 
Moore, Miss M. A. 
Morgan, Aid. A. J. 
Murphy, Capt. T. J. 
Perrin, F. E., B.A. 
Pinnell, Lawrence 
Pope, J. K. H. 
Priddis, Miss Harriet 
Puddicombe, R. W. 
Purdom, T. H., K.C. 
Raymond, F. W. 
Reason, Dr. H. T. 
Richter, Aid. J. G. 
Robinson, George 
Rodger, David 
Rowe, Thomas 
Scandrett, J. B. 
Saunders, W. E. 
Sharp, Arch. 
Smallman, T. H. 
Smith, E. B. 
Smith, Mrs. E. B. 
Stephenson, John 
Stevenson, Andrew, B.A. 
Talbot, Oliver 
Tillmann, A. 
Weld, Edmund 
Wilkie, David 
Williams, W. T. T. 
Winnett, J. W. G. 
Woolverton, Dr. S. 
Wriffht, S. R. 

The London and Middlesex Historical Society was 
organized in the year 1901. Its objects are to promote 
historical research, and to collect and preserve records and 
other historical material that may be of use to the future 
historians of our country. Its funds are devoted exclusive- 
ly to these objects ; there are no salaried officers. 

The Public Library Board grants the Society the free 
use of a room for its meetings, which are held on the third 
Tuesday evening of each month from October to April, in- 
clusive, and to which the public are invited — admission al- 
ways free. Membership in the Society is open to any 
person interested in its objects, and is maintained by the 
payment of an annual fee of fifty cents. 

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Oct. 19th, 1909— "Elements of Canadian Greatness," by the 
Postmaster of London, Ontario (Peter Macdonald, Esq., 

Nov. 16th— At the Normal School, "The Quebec Tercente- 
nary," by Miss Fitzgibbon, Secretary of the Women's 
Historical Society, of Toronto. 

Jan. 17th, 1910 — "The founding and early history of the 
Western Medical School," by H. A. McCailum, Esq., 
M. D. 

Feb. 15th — At the Normal School, lecture on "The War of 
1812, '13, '14, and Battle of Yorktown," by Barlow 
Cumberland, Esq., President Ontario Historical Society. 

March 15th — Annual Meeting; Reports of Officers; Report on 
the Historical Exhibition at the Western Fair, under the 
supervision and valuable aid of Mr. Pratt; on the erec- 
tion by the Society of a stone monument with brass 
tablet bearing an inscription as a memorial of the "Vic- 
toria Disaster" (May 24, 1881) ; on the publication of 
Part II. of "Historic Sketches of London and Middle- 
sex." Officers elected : — President, Mr. A. W. Eraser ; 
Vice-President, Captain T. J. Murphy ; 2nd Vice-Presi- 
dent, Mrs. Geo. Brickenden; Secretary, Rev. Geo. M. 
Cox ; Treasurer, Mr. J. Dearness ; Curator, Dr. Woolver- 
ton. Executive Committee — Miss Priddis, Miss Loug- 
heed, Mr. Henry Macklin, Dr. CI. T. Campbell, Mr. Har- 
vey, and the officers. 

April 19th— " The Life of Lord Durham," by Mr. John 

Sept., 1910 — A large and most interesting exhibition was, 
by the courtesy of the Western Fair Board, given 
throughout the duration of the Western Fair, of objects 
of local and general historic value. 


October 25th, 1910— "Historic Landmarks," by J. Stewart 
Carstairs, Esq., of Toronto. 

November 22nd— "Experiences of Messrs. Harry Salter and 
Robert Allan in H.M. One Hundredth, Royal Canadian 
Regiment about the year 1858," read by President A. 
W. Fraser. 

December 20th—" The London Military School," by Secretary 
Rev. G. M. Cox. 


January 17th — "The Settlement of London" (Part I.), by 
Dr. CI. T. Campbell. 

February 21st— "Training for Industrial Life," by Mr. 
Clarkson W. James, C.S.R., of the Education Depart- 
ment, Toronto (read at the Normal School) ; also "The 
War of 1812, with special reference to General Proctor's 
retreat up the Thames," by Mr. Black, of Chatham. 

March 21st— "The Settlement of London" (Part II.) ; also 
a report by the Treasurer (Vice-Principal Dearness) of 
"The Annual Meeting of The Ontario Historical Society 
at Brockville, 1910." 

April 20th— "Tecumseh and the War of 1812," by Mr. Nor- 
man Gurd, Sarnia, Ont. Annual Meeting, Reports, and 
Election of Officers. 


In the beginning of the last century the capital or judi- 
cial seat of the London District was Vittoria, in the County 
of Norfolk. This was quite proper at that time, for the 
bulk of the population of Southwestern Ontario centred 
round Long Point. With the trend of emigration westward, 
however, Vittoria was getting to be on the outskirts of the 
district, and the people wanted their courts held in a more 
central place. Ijuckily, the court house was destroyed by 
lire in 1825, and that gave opportunity for a removal. 

Col. Talbot naturally wanted St. Thomas chosen; and 
a site was even selected for the building, near the present 
court house. Delaware also had aspirations, and Mr. 
Tiffany offered a site. But the Government selected the 
plot reserved by Col. Simcoe at the forks of the Thames 
for his capital. It is said that this was largely due to 
the influence of Col. Burwell. He had been defeated in an 
election for Parliament a short time before, and, as he be- 
lieved, mainly through the vote of people on the Talbot 
road. If so, he not only gratified his revenge, but received 
a job as surveyor of the new district capital. Others, how- 
ever, helped to secure the public buildings for "The Forks." 
Capt. Matthews, of Lobo, father-in-law of Mr. Goodhue, 
and a member of the Legislature; Squires Schofield, Inger- 
soll, Teeple, Homer and Springer, all used their influence, 
and with success. 

As soon as the act was passed authorizing the building 
of the court house, enterprising people began to turn their 
thoughts towards the new settlement. The first man to 
make a move in this direction was Peter McGregor, a High- 
land Scotchman, who had been keeping a little tavern and 
store near Springbank. In 1826 he took up lot 21, south 
side of King and the corner of Ridout, and commenced to 
build a hotel. In this he was assisted by Samueli Wood, 
from Long Point; and these two were the first settlers in 
London. They were followed very shortly by John Yerex 
and his brother Abraham, carpenters, who located on the 


north-west corner of York and Ridout ; and it was in their 
house subsequently the first child was born in London- 
Nathaniel Yerex. 

McGregor's hotel was only a log shanty, and the ac- 
commodation for travellers consisted of little more than a 
jug of whiskey on a stump at the door. He improved 
things later, however; for Mrs. McGregor (formerly a Miss 
Poole, of Westminster) was an energetic helpmate, and 
doubtless encouraged her husband. Yet it was altogether 
inadequate to meet the demands on extra occasions; and 
when the first court was held visitors had to go out to 
Joseph Flannigan's, some three miles south, to get a bed. 

But the hotel accommodations of London were soon 
ample. Abraham Carroll, from Oxford County, put up a 
respectable hostelry, the Mansion House, on the north side 
of Dundas, east of" Ridout, in 1828. A year or two later, 
however, he disposed of it; and it passed into the hands, 
first, of R. Traverse; then J. O'Dell, and finally John O'Neil, 
under whose management it was for a long time the prin- 
cipal tavern in London. O'Neil seems to have come to 
London from Norfolk County as a deputy court crier and 
constable, about 1830 ; he was created a J. P. in 1833, and 
was a prominent citizen and a leader of the Orangemen. In 
1830 McGregor built a better hotel where the Robinson Hall 
building now stands. It was a frame building, subsequently 
operated by H. B. Lee ; it was afterwards destroyed by fire. 
McGregor moved later to North Street, where he died. 

But man could not live by whiskey alone, even in those 
bibulous days ; and the wants of the early settlers had to 
be met by the general store. Merchants of various kinds 
followed close on the heels of Peter McGregor. Among those 
were Dennis O'Brien, G. J. Goodhue, Patrick McMannis, 
Chas. Henry, and others. Of these, O'Brien and Goodhue 
were the principal men. The former, with McMannis and 
Henry, was an itinerant merchant; while Goodhue had been 
running a store, distillery and ashery near Byron, and 
moved into London in 1829. 

As these were not only among the earliest set- 
tlers, but became notable men in London, a little 
place may be given to them here. O'Brien was born in 
Fermoy, Ireland, in 1792; came to America in 1811, set- 
tling first in Maine. He moved to Canada in 1820, and 
travelled with his merchandise through the London district 
for several years, finally locating in London in 1827. Here 


he took up lot 13, south side of Dundas, east of Ridout. 
Goodhue was born in the State of Vermont, but in 1822 
came to St. Thomas, where he was for some time clerk for 
his elder brother. Dr. Jos. Goodhue, a merchant. Subse- 
quently he started in business in Westminster, but moved 
into London in 1829, locating in lot 20, north-east corner 
of Dundas and Ridout Streets. 

Both men prospered. O'Brien built the first brick block 
on Dundas Street, west of Ridout, and rented it to the 
Government, before it was completed, for the use of the sol- 
diers who were stationed in London in 1838. During tha 
rebellion he seemed to keep on good terms with both par- 
ties, and held several lucrative contracts for conveying 
goods and material for the military authorities. Goodhue 
also dabbled in other things besides his general store. He 
kept an ashery on Dundas Street, west of the present -City 
Hotel, where the farmers dumped the as'Res they obtained 
from burning the forests they had cleared, getting their pay 
in store goods. And here the ashes were converted, by 
leaching, into " black salts," an important article of com- 
merce in those days. He also bought and sold lands, 
loaned money on notes and mortgages, acted as magistrate, 
and became a member of the Upper House of Parliament in 
pre-confederation days. The only public recognition of 
O'Brien's labors in London was his appointment as J. P. 
in 1858. 

They were both active, energetic men, but of very differ- 
ent types. O'Brien, medium height, thick-set and sturdy 
in appearance, vivacious, good natured, as only an Irishman 
can be. A devoted Catholic, he took the lead in every- 
thing connected with his church. At the same time, he 
took all the enjoyment out of life that he could get. Some- 
times his good nature was abused, as is shown by a letter 
I have seen, sent to him on Christmas morning of 1835, in 
which two of his fellow citizens make most abject apologies 
for having created a disturbance at his house the night be- 
fore. Evidently the refreshments had been supplied with a 
too lavish hand at the Christmas Eve party. 

Goodhue, as I remember him, .was less stoutly built and 
taller, with a calm, cold eye, and a countenance not much 
given to smiles — a business man, with little thought for 
anything else. His second wife, who survived him, was a 
daughter of Capt. Matthews, of Lobo ; but his politics were 
different from those of his father-in-law, for he was a stead- 
fast supporter of the Family Compact. This was the more 


notable as he belonged to a family of United States immi- 
grants who were political radicals— his relatives, Bigelow 
and Dr. Goodhue, of St. Thomas, both attaining some 
notoriety in this character. He died worth nearly half a 
million— probably one of the wealthiest men of Southern 
Ontario at the time. O'Brien made plenty of money also, 
but it did not stick so closely to his fingers. 

Another early settler was Henry Davis, who came from 
New York in 1827, and in 1831 commenced business as a 
watchmaker or jeweler on the east side of Ridout, near 
York. This was continued for many ;^ears by him, and later by 
his son William, though the location was changed to Dun- 
das Street. 

Andrew McCormick, from County Down, Ireland, took 
up lot 19, north side of York, east of Ridout, in 1829, 
first working at his trade as a plasterer, but subsequently 
becoming a merchant and a prominent citizen. His son, 
Andrew, was mayor of London, and his granddaughter is a 
worthy officer of the London Historical Society. 

Major Ira Schofield was a magistrate, who had a dis- 
tillery down the river. (Nearly all the early settlers seemed 
to make whiskey as well as drink it.) He afterwards took 
up some land east of the forks, where the Sacred Heart 
Academy is now. The first post office in the vicinity of 
London was opened in Lawrason's store, a few miles west, 
in 1825; but when the court came to London the post office 
was moved to Schofield's log house in 1827, and the Major 
became postmaster — a position which he held until the office 
was again moved to a more convenient place, in Goodhue's 
store, in 1829, and given into his charge. Major Schofield 
sold his place to L. Lawrason and moved down to North 
Street, near Richmond, where he died shortly after. 

Others to be briefly mentioned were John Kent, an 
Englishman, who came to Canada in 1823, and bought a 
farm which extended on both sides of the river, from Rich- 
mond Street west, though his residence was on the west 
side ; Thomas Waters, a U. E. Loyalist, from New Bruns- 
wick, who came to Westminster in 1820, and was the first 
owner of the Pond Mills, subsequently taking up land along 
Carling's Creek, where Waters' mill (near the present site 
of Carling's Brewery) was for some years a landmark ; Levi 
Merrick, who built the first bridge at the foot of York 
Street, in 1826 ; Ben Higgins, who came from Ireland in 
1828, first farming a 10-acre field near Blackfriars' bridge. 


and later running a hotel on the corner of Dundas and 
Clarence Streets ; and Samuel Laughton, the pioneer black- 
smith, located on Richmond Street, near Bathurst. 

The work of preparing for the accommodation of the 
courts commenced in 1826, as soon as the plot was sur- 
veyed. In order that there might be no delay, a tempor- 
ary frame building was erected on the north-east corner of 
the square, and in this the first court of quarter sessions 
was held, on January 9th, 1827— Col. Ryerse as chairman. 
A writer in The Gore Gazette, Ancaster, July 31st, 1827, 
describing London, which he had just visited, states that 
this "was a building erected by subscription, and eventually 
intended for the district schoolhouse." 

Garrett Oakes, of Yarmouth, in his pioneer sketches, 
says : "This building was constructed of flat logs, and on 
the ground floor was a log partition, to separate the jail 
from the jailer's room. The courtroom above was reached 
by a stairs from the outside. As soon as the house was 
roofed William Parke, the old Vittoria jailer, removed to 
London to assume his office in the new building, and I 
assisted him to finish the courtroom in a rough manner." 
(Ermatinger's Talbot Regime, page 123.) 

The court house itself, of course, required more time 
The plan was drawn by a Mr. Edwards, of Toronto; and 
out of compliment to Col. Talbot, its exterior was designed 
in imitation of Malahide Castle, his birthplace. The front 
of the building faced the west, overlooking the river. Mr. 
John Ewert, of Toronto, secured the contract. He never 
became a citizen of London, though he was a property 
holder, owning lot 20, on Dundas Street, sold afterwards 
to J. G. Goodhue. His partner, Thomas Parke, however, 
took charge of the work, became a resident and a prominent 
citizen, living at first within the limits, but subsequently 
moving across the river into Westminster. In 1833 he was 
elected to Parliament as one of the two county members, 
serving two terms, during the latter part of which he was 
a member of the executive council, with the office of Sur- 
veyor-General. Another Toronto man, William Hale, came 
to London at this time, and manufactured the brick— suit- 
able clay being found at the rear of the present Robinson 
Hall, and also across the river, on land subsequently owned 
by Walter Nixon. 

Among the mechanics who were drawn to the new set- 
tlement by prospects of work was Robert Carfras, who lived 


to a good old age, which he finished on Carfrae Street, 
London South. He used to tell that when crossing over 
the new bridge at the foot of York Street, plodding along 
the rough road, he came to Yerex's cottage, and asked, 
"How far is it to London?" "Why, you are in it," was 
the answer. 

By 1829 the court house was completed, and the tem- 
porary building was removed to the south-west corner of 
the lot, where it became the grammar school, familiar to 
the old residents of London, many of whom received their 
education within its walls. It is now used as a store- 
house by the water commissioners. 

The court house had a very stately appearance to an 
outsider, but its interior arrangements would not be con- 
sidered either convenient or sanitary, from a modern point 
of view. Of course, it was smaller than the present build- 
ing, which was enlarged in 1878, making six turrets instead 
of four. There was no separate jail at first, criminals being 
locked up in the cell underground. The interior was plain- 
ly furnished — the only notable decoration was the finely ex- 
ecuted painting of the coat-of-arms, the work of a French 
artist by the name of Lefebre. 

Both the temporary and permanent court house, how- 
ever, saw some lively scenes. In the former the accommo- 
dation was so limited that the jury would often retire to 
the shade of a neighboring tree to pursue their delibera- 
tions. Many of the cases tried were of a comparatively 
trifling nature — petty larceny, assault and civic disputes ; 
and the penalties inflicted were fines, imprisonment, flog- 
ging, and even the stocks, though these latter soon fell into 
disuse, and were formally consigned to the mercies of the 
Thames in spring flood by Constable Henry Groves, on the 
order of the magistrates. The first prisoner is said to have 
been a man named Reed, who wels found guilty of stealing 
his neighbor's axe, and who served his term of imprison- 
ment by being chained to the stump of a tree in the day- 
time, and to a block of wood in an imfinished cell at 

One of the first cases, however, was a charge of murder. 
Thomas Pomeroy, a sheriff's officer, had been killed by a 
man named Burleigh. The murderer was promptly cap- 
tured, tried, sentenced and executed in three days after his 
trial. Quick justice ; but then the accommodation for 


prisoners was limited. And perhaps it was thought well 
to put the condemned out of misery as soon as possible. 

The starting of the judicial machinery in London in the 
twenties rendered it advisable for the officers of the court 
to make this city their home. For a few years most of 
them continued to reside at Vittoria, visiting London only 
when required. Sheriff Rappalje never came. He used to 
send his son to act for him as deputy. There was no 
resident sheriff here until Norfolk was set oft as a separate 
district in 1837, and James Hamilton was appointed to 

While the Chairman of the Board of Quarter Sessions 
frequently acted as judge, the first regular appointee for the 
district was James Mitchell. He was not a lawyer, but a 
highly-educated man, who came out from Scotland with Dr. 
Strachan. For a time he was tutor to James Hamilton's 
children ; was afterwards given charge of the district gram- 
mar school at Vittoria, and finally appointed judge in, 1819., 
He made a very eflicient judge, few of his decisions being 
overruled. As years and infirmities increased, Wm. Young, 
an English lawyer, from Caradoc, was appointed junior 
judge ; but he, dying shortly after, Mr. Williams, an 
Englishman, who came from the West Indies, took his 
place. Mitchell remained the senior judge as long as he 
lived ; but he was for some years utterly unfit for any 
work, owing largely to the reckless habits, characteristic 
of so many of our pioneers. He died in 1844, at his home 
on York Street, near Ridout, and was succeeded by Judge 

The clerk of the court was Col. J. B. Askin. He was 
born in Detroit, of mixed Irish and Indian blood, and was 
appointed to ofiice while the court was being held at Vit- 
toria. He is said not to have been the most agreeable 
man to deal with. The characteristics of the two races 
which met in him seemed to counteract each other. The 
volatile nature of the Celt had to contend with the serious- 
ness and impassivity of the Indian. AVhile he was active 
to the extent of fussiness, the cold indifference of the 
aborigine modified the levity of the Irishman. He took 
everything seriously, and got excited over it. He could 
not imderstand a joke; and that was probably the reason 
why, during the rebellion, the young men used to play 
tricks on him., and send him off on a "wild goose chase" 
after imaginary rebels. 


The treasurer of the district was John Harris, an 
Englishman, who had been in the naval service, but had 
retired on half pay, and was living near Long Point. A 
thorough John Bull, afraid of nothing, he would take the 
most extreme measures for what he thought was right. His 
wife was the daughter of Col. S. Ryerse, and made Eldon 
House (built in 1835) the social center of London. Sir 
James Alexander, in 1812, said there was no society in 
London, oniy three or four families; and he especially eulo- 
gized the hospitality of Eldon House. Mr. Harris took a 
very active part in 1837-38 in support of the Govern- 
ment, though as a volunteer without any official position. 
His connection with the "CaroUne" episode is to-day known 
to very few outside of the family. He was at Niagara at 
the time that MacKenzie and his United States sympathiz- 
ers were utilizing Na\'y Island as a base of supplies, and 
conveying men and munitions to it in the Caroline. His 
experience as a naval officer showed the situation favorable 
for "cutting out" the Caroline. He suggested it to Col. 
McNab ; Capt. Drew was called in consultation; and the 
attempt was decided on. Mr. Harris accompanied the ex- 
pedition, which was successful, and the captvired vessel went 
over the falls that night. On account of Mr. Harris' posi- 
tion as a half-pay officer, it was deemed inexpedient to 
make public the fact that he was on active duty, and 
nothing was said at the time about his share in the enter- 
prise. He was subsequently treasurer of Middlesex, and 
also of London town, and died at his home in 1850. 

Col. Mahlon Burwell, the registrar of deeds, was born 
in New Jersey, February 18th, 1783. Educated as a land 
surveyor, he came when a young man to Canada, and 
through Col. Talbot's influence had nearly all the Govern- 
ment work in the district. He was appointed registrar in 
3 812, was a member of Parliament for the county and once 
for London, and became a colonel in the militia during the 
rebellion. He does not appear to have seen any fighting, 
but was taken from a sick bed during a Yankee raid, and 
held prisoner in the United States for several months. He 
never lived in London. The little brick building on the 
Southwold town line, in which he kept the registry office, 
is, I think, still standing. He died on the 25th of Jan- 
uary, 1867. 

The other officers were Gideon Bostwick, court crier ; 
John O'Neil, deputy crier and constable ; Samuel Park, 
jailer, and Wm. K. Cornish, deputy clerk. 


Peter Schram, a German, came to Middlesex in 1818, 
and was high constable for the county under Sheriff Rap- 
pelje. He was an early settler in I^ondon, and was suc- 
ceeded in office by Henry Groves, born in Sussex, England, 
1806, emigrating to Canada in 1830, and settling in Lon- 
don in 1882. Mr. Groves had a chair factory on York 
Street, west of Ridout. He subsequently held the office of 
court crier and high constable, and died in 1887. 

As some compensation for the enforced removal of the 
court officers from Vittoria, they received grants of five 
acres each in the vicinity of London, all river lots. The 
Harris lot is still occupied by the family. Judge Mitchell's 
was further north ; Burwell, Askin and Hamilton located 
south and west of the town. 

The pioneer lawyer who practiced in London was John 
Tenbroeck, who moved here from Vittoria. He was of a 
U. E. L. family — Captain Jacob Tenbroeck having fought 
for the mother land in the American revolution, and re- 
ceiving a grant of 300 acres in Grantham Township, where 
his great-grandson died this year. John was a man of 
marked ability, marred only by the common failing of his 
contemporaries, which apparently rendered his financial 
dealings sometin\es unsatisfactory to his creditors. In 
those days, in civil cases, the judge received a fee of one 
dollar, and the jury one dollar and fifty cents — a York 
shilling apiece. It is said that when Tenbroeck had charge 
of a case the jury would not bring in a verdict, nor the 
court pronounce judgment, until the money was paid. 

Other pioneer lawyers were Nelon Stuart (noted princi- 
pally for his duel with an officer of the 22nd in later 
tiays) ; Stewart Jones, one of a prominent Brockville fam- 
ily of that name ; and W. K. Cornish, father of Mayor 
Frank Cornish. 

London in 1830 may be described by a quotation from 
a book entitled "The Canadas," published by Andrew 
Picken, in England, 1832, compiled chiefly from notes by 
John Gait, the Canada Company's general manager. He 
says : "The town is quite new, not containing above 40 or 
50 houses, all of bright boards and shingles. The streets 
and gardens are fuli of black stumps." At this time the 
population did not exceed 200, but was rapidly increasing. 

Perhaps one of the most prominent arrivals after the 
court house was built was John Scatcherd, from Wyton, 


England ; a tall, burly man, who came to Nissouri in 1820, 
but removed to London in 1830. He opened a store on 
the north side of Dundas Street, east of Ridout, and was 
the first merchant to sell hardware. After 1835 he re- 
turned to Nissouri, became warden of the county and a 
member of Parliament. His son, Thomas, became a lead- 
ing citizen of London, a lawyer, and member for North 

Scatcherd's brother-in-law, James Farley, an Irishman 
from Armagh, came to London with him as a partner in 
his business. He continued the business when Scatcherd 
left, removing the store, after a time, to the south side of 
Dundas, east of Clarence, about where Bennett's Theatre 
stands ; was on the school board and the village council ; 
studied law with his nephew, Thomas, and was appointed 
clerk of the peace for the new County of Elgin. He died 
in St. Thomas in 1875. 

Another Irishman, Samuel Glass, came to Westminster 
in 1819, and settled in London in 1831 as a dealer in flour 
and grain. Two of his sons became noted citizens; David, 
member of Parliament for East Middlesex, and William, 

Lawrence Lawrason was born at Ancaster, August 10, 
1803. His father was a U. E. Loyalist from New Jersey. 
At first clerking in the store of James Hamilton (after- 
wards sheriff of Middlesex), he subsequently removed with 
his father's family westward, and opened a store at Hall's 
Mills, and there a post office was opened. In 1832 he came 
to London and joined Mr. Goodhue in business. He was 
ii,n active supporter of the Family Compact, an officer of 
the local militia, a well-known magistrate, and for a coupie 
of years member of Parliament. In 1847 he built for a 
residence a large brick house, which nov.' forms the nucleus 
of the Sacred Heart Academy. He became very wealthy, 
but subsequently lost the greater part of his property. He 
was appointed the first police magistrate of London in 
1865, an office which he held until his death, August 14th, 
1882. His wife was a daughter of William H. Lee. One 
surviving child is Mrs. E. Baynes Reid, of Victoria, B.C. 

Joseph Webster, who came in 1831, was the first man 
to open a tailor shop. For many years he carried on a 
business, which became quite extensive, about where the 
Parisian Laundry now is on Dundas. 


Donald McPherson, a Scotch farmer from Adelaide, set- 
tled himself in London in 1832, building a house on Ridout 
Street. His daughter, the widow of Mr. Gunn, is still 
living here. 

In the earliest days of London there were no regular 
religious services here. Rev. James Campian, of Niagara, 
celebrated mass in Dennis O'Brien's house in 1827 — probably 
the first clergyman to visit the settlement — while Rev. E. 
Boswell, of the Church of England in St. Thomas, held 
service here in 1829. 

In 1832 a number of discharged British soldiers were 
sent out to Adelaide Township. With them came some 
Irish gentlemen and their families— the Cursons, Blakes, 
Radcliffes, and others. In November of that year Rev. 
Benjamin Cron;yTi came from Ireland with his wife and two 
children. Their destination was Adelaide Township. But 
wearied with the long, rough ride, they stopped in London 
to rest at the Mansion House. On the Sunday he held 
service, and on Monday a deputation of church adherents 
urged him to remain, and he consented. Lots 21 and 22, 
on Dundas Street, being the north-west corner of Ridout 
and the adjacent lot, had been set apart for the use of the 
Anglican Church in the name of Bishop Stewart, and were 
being used as a burial ground, but services were held in the 
schoolhouse and elsewhere. It is said that steps were 
taken towards building a church here, but it was finally 
decided to go eastward, and the present site of St. Paul's 
was secured. 

London Township had been made a circuit of the Wes- 
leyan Methodist Church in 1823, with Robt. Carson in 
charge. Itinerant preachers of this body visited London 
as soon as there were any people here; and in 1833 a meet- 
ing-house was erected, a rough-cast building, on the south- 
west corner of Ridout and Car ling Streets. 

Though the population at this time would appear to 
have been too small to support a newspaper, yet an at- 
tempt at journalism was made in 1831 by E. A. Talbot. 
This gentleman was a son of Richard Talbot, who settled 
in London Township in 1818 with an Irish colony. He 
was a well-educated young man, who had written a book 
on Canada in 1824. "The London Sun." as he called his 
paper, shone for a couple of years, and then went down in 
darkness. After this failure, Talbot removed to Niagara, 
and issued a paper there, but he did not succeed. About 


1838 he returned to London, in poor health, and poorer 
finances, with a large familj^ to support. His Orange 
cronies— John O'Neil and others — helped him all they could; 
and in 1839 he tried journalism again, with the Freeman's 
Journal. But ill-fortime still attended him; his last ven- 
ture failed, - and he did not live long after it. 

Freeman Talbot, a member of the same family, came in- 
to London as a very young lad, and has .stated that he 
was engaged as a surveyor when the ground was being 
chained for the court house. He was well known in the 
early days; and died only a short time ago in Strathcarol, 

But while London was getting some valuable additions 
to its population about this time, there were also some of 
an inferior character. Among the large number of emi- 
grants coming into Canada from Britain some were of the 
poorer classes, who came out imder very unsanitary condi- 
tions. As a result, epidemic diseases made their appear- 
ance in the summer of 1832 ; and London received its first 
serious setback. 

The village was ill fitted to meet such a foe. Appa- 
rently it was in a very healthy situation. The court house 
and surrounding buildings were grouped together on the 
verge of a lofty plateau. Dundas Street, instead of slop- 
ing to the river as it now does, ended abruptly at the top 
of a high hill. Theoretically no better location could be 
desired. If Governor Simcoe had been able this year to 
repeat his visit from Detroit to London he would have been 
charmed with the sight. Coming up the river towards the 
forks, Malahide Castle, with its towers and turrets, clearly 
outlined against the summer sky, with the smaller houses 
grouped beneath the shelter of its walls; the clank of anvil 
and the thud of axe; the lowing of cattle and the hum of 
busy men in the market on the bluff, would have made him 
think his early visions had materialized, and that the capi- 
tal of his Province was outstretched before him. 

But — and there is always a but — the conditions were 
most unsanitary. There was no provision for drainage. 
The streets were of the most primitive description, without 
even ditches to carry off surplus water. There was a 
swamp on Richmond Street, between Queen's Avenue and 
Dundas. On the flats on the west and south-west boimda- 
ries of the village mud puddles gave off poisonous efluvia. 
Carling's Creek, as we now call it, was a stream large 


enough to run Waters' mill at its mouth; but a big mill 
pond reached from Richmond Street west to Talipot, and 
in the summer drouths was very unhealthy, as these ponds 
usually are. A smaller and more sluggish stream ran be- 
tween York and Bathurst. The v/ells were open, protected 
only by a curbing, the water being drawn by the old oaken 
bucket; while pigpens, cow sheds and other unsanitary con- 
cerns were usually near enough to let their sewage filter 
through the soil and contaminate the water. 

So far as medical assistance was concerned, there was 
probably enough. Archibald Chisholm was the first physi- 
cian in London. I have been unable to learn much of him, 
except that he was a young man, born near St. Thomas 
in 1795, and died in London on September 20th, 1830. 
His son Hiram was in business here for some years with 
L. Lawrason. More is known of Dr. Elam Stimson, who 
came from the United States in 1823, and took up his 
abode in London in 1828. He must have been here near- 
ly as early as Dr. Chisholm. A tall man of fine presence, 
good education and great mental ability, he would have 
been one of London's leading citizens had he remained. But 
he lost his wife and younger child by cholera, and in 1833 
he left the scene of his unpleasant experience and removed 
to St. George, where he died in 1869. 

Col. Talbot, writing to his friend, Mr. Robinson, on the 
8th July, 1832, says : "The weather last week has been 
very hot, and I am sorry to say that a few persons have 
died after a few hours' sickness, which the quacks pro- 
nounce as cholera." Doubtless he was thinking of Dr. 
Stimson, who, coming from the United States, would cer- 
tainly be a quack in his eyes. However, he had hopes for 
the future, because he says : "Within the last week I have 
had an addition of two regular-bred physicians — Dr. Don- 
nelly, of the navy, and Dr. Rolls, a very gentlemanly young 
man, who practiced in Old London for some years." 

The quacks were right ; there was no doubt the disease 
was cholera, and Dr. Donnelly himself fell a victim. I do 
not think Dr. Rolls came to London ; at all events, we find 
him shortly after located in St. Thomas. Dr. H. D. Lee 
came to London about this time; was appointed Govern- 
ment medicai officer in 1833; became a leading citizen, and 
died of typhus in 1847 — taking the infection while looking 
after emigrants. 

The cholera, as I have said, spread all over the country 
this summer. In London many were attacked and a num- 


ber died— how many it is impossible to say, as there was 
no system of registration in those days. But it was a 
serious time, for the pest only subsided as the high sum- 
mer temperature went down with the approach of winter. 

The outbreak of the cholera, however, did not stop the 
influx of settlers in London. During the next two years 
valuable additions were made to the Forest Town. It 
would be impossible to mention all ; the names of many 
have been long forgotten and records of their lives have 
long since vanished. With some, however, we are more 
familiar, and a brief reference to these may be given. 

John Jennings was a peripatetic merchant, who sold 
goods around the coimtry ;, he practically settled in London 
about 1832 or a little later. He had a distillery across 
the river from the Eldon House; a store near the corner of 
Dundas and Ridout, and kept a livery stable as well. He 
was a useful all-round citizen, and occupied important posi- 
tions in later years. 

Ed. Raymond was born in Buffalo, and settled here in 
1832, and began business as a furrier in 1833. Mrs. Ray- 
mond, the daughter of Mr. Durante a Congregational min- 
ister, was for many years principal music teacher and 
organist in town. 

Geo. Watson, an Englislunan, builder by trade, came in 
1833; lived for many years on King Street, about the pres- 
ent No. 155, and died only a few years ago. 

The year 1834 saw a large number of new arrivals ; 
among them were the following : 

Henry Beltz, a native of , the United States, was a bridge 
builder, and in partnership with one McPherson, had charge 
of nearly all of that kind of work after his arrival. His 
son, Edmund, learned the trade of furrier with Raymond ; 
began business in 1850, and held it until he died a few 
months ago. 

J. W. Van Wormer, from the States, a turner by trade ; 
his wife, a daughter of Jailor Parke, was drowned while 
driving through the river at the foot of Ridout Street. 

Leonard Perrin, also from across the border, originally 
a blacksmith, but became a baker, having his shop on Dun- 
das Street, near the north-west corner of Talbot; had the 
contract for supplying troops with bread in later years, 


and thus paved the way for one of the leading business 
concerns of our city to-day. 

As the people began to increase in number, they gave 
evidence of energy and enterprise that their descendants 
have not equalled. They started to build a railroad. Even 
though they did not succeed at the time, it only showed 
that they had more courage than money. 

The first railroad corporation in Canada seems to have 
been the Champlain and St. I^awrence Railroad Company, 
chartered in 1832 — only a few years after the first loco- 
motive was constructed in England by Stevenson. The 
object of the road seems to have been to connect Montreal 
with the nearest navigable water to New York; and in 1836 
it commenced operations, running from St. John, near 
Montreal, to Laprairie. It was a wooden road, and oper- 
ated by horse-power. It was the first link in the chain 
that afterwards became the Grand Trunk Railway. 

London was a small place compared with Montreal, but 
it was going to have its railroad if it could. On March 
6th, 1834, a company, called the London and Gore Rail- 
road, was chartered by the Legislature of Upper Canada 
(4 Wm. IV., Chap. 29). The following persons were the 
incorporators : Edward Allan Talbot, Thomas Parke. 
George J. Goodhue, Allan Napier McNab, Colin Campbell 
Ferrie, John McFarlane, Wm. Robertson, Thomas Gibbens, 
Lawrence Lawrason, Dennis O'Brien, John Scatcherd, Jas. 
Hamilton, Joseph Cowley, Nicholas Gaffeny, Joseph L. 
O'Dell, John O'Neil, James Farley, John Jennings, Harvey 
Shepherd, John Kent, Albert S. O'Dell, Henry Shennick. 
Hiram D. Lee, William E. Lee, Burley Hunt, Nathan Grif- 
fith, Andrew Drew, Robert Alway, Peter Carroll, Charles 
Duncombe, Thomas Horner, Oliver Turner, E. A. Spalding, 
Geo. W. Whitehead, Peter Bamberger, Manuel Over filed, 
James McFarlane, James Bell Ewart, Thomas J. Horner, 
Joseph Grier, G. W. Bremyer, Nathan Jacobs, Charles 
Goulding, Thomas D. Howard, Thomas J. Jones, James 
Ingersoll, John Young, John Wier, A. McDonnell, William 
Bull Sheldon, Ebenezer Stinson, Samuel Mills, Peter Hun- 
ter Hamilton, Abraham K. Smith, Joseph Holestone, Thos. 
Taylor, Henry Carrol, Calvin Martin, James Ritchie, E. 
Jackson, Jedediah Jackson, Welcome Y^ale, Luke V. Soper, 
Ira Schofield, Mahlon Burwell, Andrew Miller, David Archi- 
bald McNab, William Notman, Matthew Crooks, Oliver Tif- 
fany, Plumer Burlej', George T. Tiffany, Edward Vanderlip, 


Oliver G. Tiffany, William Case, A. Smith, John Law and 
Miles O'Reilly. 

More than half of these people came from London and 
immediate vicinity, the others from Hamilton and inter- 
mediate points. The Londoners, however, were the leaders 
in the movement. The company received authority to con- 
struct a road of wood or iron, commencing at London and 
extending first to Burlington Bay, and then westward to 
the navigable waters of the Thames and Lake Huron. It 
may be noted that early railroads were looked upon simply 
as portages to connect navigable waters. All the first roads 
chartered in Canada were of this description. London was 
made the headquarters, and the first meeting was appointed 
to be held in this town on the first Monday of April, 1834, 
providing £25,000 of stock had been subscribed. If not, 
then a special meeting was to be called whenever that 
amount was subscribed. The limit of stock was fixed at 
£100,000, issued in 3,000 shares of £12 10s. each. This 
amount to be doubled when construction from London com- 
menced westward. 

Government ownership of railroads was evidently looked 
upon by some people as a possibility, for by clause 22 of 
this act, power was taken for the Government after 40 
years, to buy out the company at 20 per cent, premium, 
providing the road had been paying a dividend of 12 per 

The promoters of this company found some difficulty in 
getting money, and the preliminary meeting for organiza- 
tion was not held until June, 1885, when a number of the 
shareholders met at "O'Neill's Inn," or the Mansion House, 
situated on Dundas Street, about where Perrin's biscuit fac- 
tory now is. Thomas Cronyn was chairman, and AVm. 
Rol)inson, secretary. It was found that many of the sub- 
scription lists that had been issued were not in, and it was 
impossible to tell who were the shareholders to any great 
extent. Those present, however, proceeded to organize, and 
elected seven directors, the understanding being that several 
of these would make way for others, so that the board 
would be fairly representative of the different localities in 
which other shareholders resided. Difficulties still continu- 
ing in the way of obtaining the money, the directors of the 
company approached the Legislature again, and obtained an 
amended act on March 6th, 1837 (7 Wm. IV., Chap. 61). 
This act changed the title of the road to Great Western 


Railroad Company, increased the stock to £500,000, and 
made provision for a Government loan equal to three times 
the amount subscribed — the loan not to commence until 
£1,250 of stock had been taken up, and the maximum of 
the loan not to exceed £200,000. 

Authority was also given the Canada Company to con- 
nect Goderich with this line. The Niagara and Detroit 
Rivers Company had been organized a short time before, 
and it was also given authority to connect with the Great 
Western. In order to protect the Government in its loan, 
provision was taken by another act at the same session 
(7 Wm. IV., Chap. 62), to levy a tax on the districts of 
Gore, London and Western, in order to make up any deficit 
in the interest on the debentures issued by the Government 
for the purpose of assisting the railway. However, with 
all the help offered by the Government, this enterprise 
seemed to have been too big a scheme for the promoters to 
liandle. The money was not forthcoming, and the enter- 
prise lapsed. 

But the Gore was not the oniy railway enterprise start- 
ed in London about this time. A man named Henry Dalley 
introduced a scheme for a road from London to Detroit. 
He was a genial, plausible man, a type of the class of 
promoters. He interested a number of people, especially 
in the country districts; collected considerable money; and 
sent out surveying parties. Some work was evidently done, 
for the first engineers engaged in locating the Canada 
Southern Railway in after years, found the marks of his 
surveys. Whether or not Dalley really intended to build 
the railway, is, of course, uncertain. But the enterprise 
fell through, with disastrous consequences to those who had 
trusted him. One of these was Wm. Huggins, a West 
Indian planter, who came to Yarmouth in 1833, but re- 
jTioved to London a few years later. He brought suit 
against Dalley and got judgment — but no money. So com- 
plete was his financial loss that he .worked for a time as a 
laborer at the building of the Barracks; he failed in health, 
and, after a long illness, died in 1851. Dalley meanwhile 
went to New York and made a fortune in seliing patent 
medicines. In his prosperity .he remembered his less fortu- 
nate associates, and sent Huggins a good supply of Dal- 
ley's salve. 

About this time the growing importance of London was 
recognized by the Provincial authorities, and it was con- 


stituted an electoral division. The census showed the 
population to be slightly over 1,000. Previously it had 
been part of the county, which returned two members. The 
first election was held in 1836— candidates being Mahlon 
Burweli and Jno. Scatchard. Freeman Talbot is my 
authority for saying that the vote was a tie — 37 for each ; 
the returning officer, being an appointee of the Government, 
did his duty by voting for the Government candidate. The 
total vote cast seems very small to us ; but it must be re- 
membered that none could vote but property holders who 
had their patent from the crown, or had the deeds for their 
land duly executed, and the fee for a crown deed was £8. 
Great numbers of the early settlers simply had their names 
entered on Col. Talbot's map, and while this secured them 
their lots, it did not give them a clear title under which 
they could vote. It was evident, however, that this elec- 
tion was closely contested. In politics, London seems to 
have been ready to put up a good fight from the very first 
day it got the chance. 

London was now beginning to attract attention. Its 
people had shown a degree of public spirit in railroad mat- 
ters, greater in proportion to population than any place in 
Canada. A branch of the Bank of Upper Canada was 
opened in 1835, on the corner of King and Ridout Streets, 
with Richard Richardson, manager. Travellers passing 
through the country helped to advertise the town. Some- 
times the picture drawn by the visitor was not very flat- 
tering. Mrs. Jamieson, wife of the Vice-Chancellor of the 
Province, was one of those who did not see much beauty 
in the little village, according to her description in her 
"Summer Rambles and Winter Studies." 

In 1837 she passed through this section on a visit to 
Col. Talbot, and remaining over a day at the hotel, she 
took a walk through the village. She says : "It now 
contains more than 200 frame or brick houses; and there 
are inany more building. The court house seemed the 
glory of the townspeople. As for the style of architecture, 
I may not attempt to describe it, but a gentleman informed 
me, in rather equivocal phrase, that it was 'somewhat 
Gothic' There are five places of w^orship for the Episco- 
palian, Presbj'terian, Methodist, Roman Catholic and Bap- 
tist. The church is handsome. There are also three or 
four schools, and seven taverns. The Thames is very 
beautiful here; and navigable for boats and barges. 


" The population consists principally of artisans — and 
blacksmiths, carpenters and buikiers are flourishing. There 
is, I fear, a good deal of drunkenness and profligacy ; for 
though the people have work and wealth, they have neither 
education nor amusements. Besides the seven taverns, 
there is a number of little grocery stores, wTiich are, in 
fact, drinking houses. And though a law exists which for- 
bids the sale of spirituous liquor in small quantities by any 
but licensed publicans, they easily contrive to evade the 

"The Government should be- more careful in the choice of 
district magistrates. While I was in I^ondon a person who 
had acted in this capacity was carried from the pavement 
dead drunk. 

" I find the women in the better class lamenting over 
the want of all society except in the lowest grades, in man- 
ners and morals. For those who have recently emigrated 
and are settled in the interior, there is absolutely no social 
intercourse whatsoever." 

But the superficial observations of this versatile and 
volatile Irish lady, as she flitted over the country, are not 
to be taken too seriously. The defects that she noticed 
were common to the times, and were no worse in London 
than in Toronto. No doubt, however, there was some jus- 
tice in her opinion that lack of legitimate and innocent 
amusements seriously affected the moral tone of the early 

During the years 1834 to 1839 there were some notable 
additions to our citizenship, of whom a few may be men- 
tioned : 

Murray Anderson was born at Lundy's Lane, the ground 
on which the battle was fought having been the property of 
his father. l^earning the trade of a tinsmith, he came to 
London in 1835, and lived here for a year or two, then 
went home ; but he returned and took up his trade and be- 
came a permanent resident. He opened a tin and stove 
store on Dundas Street, about where Perrin's factory is, 
and in later years established a foundry on the south-west 
corner of Dundas and Adelaide Streets. He took a prom- 
inent part in public affairs, and was the first mayor of 
the Citv of London in 1855. He died here March 5th, 


Wm. Barker came here from Nottingham, England, in 
1835. He was a man of superior education, and especially 
noted as a student of astronomy. He had charge of the 
business of General Renwick, who owned considerable real 
estate in this locality. From the very first he became a 
leading citizen, and was for many years a member of vari- 
ous municipal bodies. He built Mount Hope, on the north 
end of Richmond Street, the cupola on which made a very 
good observatory. He was the principal organizer of our 
first gas company. His son is a member of Parliament for 

The principal lawyer at this period was John Wilson, 
born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1809. He came to Canada 
as a boy, worked on a farm in Lanark, then studied law, 
and in 1834 settled in London. He at once obtained a 
lucrative practice, for with his thorough knowledge of law, 
he possessed a shrewd common sense; a free and easy oratory, 
and a warm sympathy for the vmfortunate. His office was a 
school for many who afterwards became prominent lawyers. 

Among these was H. C. R. Becher, who came here in 
1886; a cultured young Englishman of good family, who en- 
tered Wilson's office as a student, and when he left it to 
practice his profession he was well equipped for the work. 
These two men were the leaders of the bar in London for 
many years. 

As a young lad I had occasion to see them frequently in 
the fifties. They were men in marked contrast. Wilson 
was burly, with coarse, ruddy features, careless in dress, 
offhand in manner, sometimes rude in speech. Becher was 
tall and slim, with sallow complexion, gentlemanly in ap- 
pearance, smooth spoken and courteous. Both were prom- 
inent in public affairs, but with imequal success. Wilson 
represented London in Parliament, where he took a very 
active part, and finally finished his career on the bench. 

Becher was defeated by Morrill when he ran for mayor, 
and by E. Leonard for Parliament ; his only public office 
was a seat on the village council. 

D. J. Hughes, from Devonshire, England, came to Mont- 
real in 1832, where his father died. Adopted by a friend 
of the family, he came to London in 1835; studied law in 
Joiin Wilson's office. After being called to the bar, he 
moved to Woodstock in 1842, returning to London in 1847, 
entering into partnership with Wilson, who had married his 


sister. In 1853 he was appointed first county judge of 
Elgin; held that office for 50 years, and still resides in St. 
Thomas, at the advanced age of 90. His recollection of 
men and things in the early days has been of material 
service in the preparation of this sketch. 

Capt. John Moore, of the 30th Regiment, retired from 
service and took up his residence in London, near the site 
of the present gas house, in 1834. His son, Charles, en- 
tered into partnership with Richard Smith and E. S. 
Lyman, as general merchants, including in their stock a 
good supply of drugs. Possibly this latter fact may have 
turned his attention to medicine, for when Dr. A. Anderson 
settli?d here in 1837, and married a daughter of Capt. 
Moore, Charles entered his brother-in-law's office, and after 
graduation followed his profession here till his death, leav- 
ing his son to succeed him. 

Dr. Anderson purchased the Goodhue house, near the 
site of the present Sandringham apartments. He subse- 
quently built Walmington house across the street. Here 
his widow still lives. 

In 1835 a young English chemist, John Salter, was 
employed in Smith & Moore's store to look after the drug 
department, but two years later' he commenced business for 
himself as a druggist, and physician opposite the court 
house. Dr. Salter was well known for many years; he was 
a highly-educated anan, and a prominent contributor to the 
local press. 

James Givens commenced practicing law in St. Thomas, 
but in 1835 he was appointed solicitor for the Bank of 
Upper Canada, and removed to London, and became prom- 
inent in municipal affairs and legal circles. He built the 
long low house on the river bank, near the York Street 
bridge, which is still standing. He was subsequently ap- 
pointed county judge. 

Alexander Mackenzie, born in Indiana, of Highland 
Scotch parentage, came to Canada when a young man, 
practicing medicine in St. Thomas for a time. When a 
batallion was raised in London in 1838, he was appointed 
a surgeon, and came here, where he resided until his 
death a few years ago. 

Simeon Morrill came from the United States and ob- 
tained three lots on the south-eastern corner of York and 
Hidout Streets. He operated a large tannery, together 


with the manufacture of shoes. He was the first employer 
of labor in London on anything like an extensive scale, 
and always paid his wages In cash, something very unusual 
in those days. He was further noted as the pioneer pro- 
hibitionist in this city. But though temperance was not 
popular, he commanded unusual respect from the people, 
and was repeatedly elected to municipal positions. 

John Smythe, from England, was a soldier in the 95th 
Kegiment. and fought under Wellington at Waterloo. He 
came to London in 1838, and was first a merchant, subse- 
quently opening the Waterloo Hotel on Richmond Street, 
for many years a local landmark. He was a pioneer in 
the volunteer movement, and was, I believe, captain of the 
first rifle company organized in the district. His sons have 
both been well known as good citizens and enthusiastic mili- 
tary men. 

Elijah Leonard was born in Syracuse, N.Y., September 
10th, 1814, and learned the iron-foundry business with his 
father. The family removed to Canada in 1830, the father 
taking charge of a furnace in the Long Point district, at 
what is now known as NormandRle. Here bog iron was 
found, and worked up extensively. In 1834 Mr. Leonard 
started a foundry in St. Thomas; and in 1838 removed to 
London, where he commenced the business now known by 
the name of "E. Leonard & Sons." The first foundry was 
on Ridout Street, near Fullarton. Mr. Leonard was mayor 
of London in 1857, and in 1862 was elected to the Legis- 
lative Council of Canada for the Malahide Division. At 
confederation he was appointed a Senator for the Domin- 
ion, serving until his death, in London, May 14th, 1891. 

I can only mention by name a few more of the pioneers 
of that period : Thos. Moore, a tall Irish doctor ; Hugh 
Stevenson, a Scotch Presbyterian, who kept a small hotel 
on Ridout Street ; Frank and William Pope, Englishmen, 
builders; S. McBride, tinsmith; Thomas Campbell, builder; 
John Holden, stonemason ; William Balkwill, Englishman, 
who took over Flannigan's Hotel (where the City Hotel is 
now)— the Hope Hotel it was then called; and his brother, 
John, who started a brewery, subsequently operated by 
Eccles & Labatt, and now known as Labatt's Brewery ; 
Thomas Hiscox, an English farmer, who was despatch 
bearer for the Government, conducted a freight and passen- 
ger stage, carried mails, and kept a hotel;, William Elliott. 
a lawyer, and subsequently county judge, a highly educated 


gentleman, interested alike in law, literature, education and 

These were only a few of our pioneers who deserve hon- 
orable mention. They were not perfect men ; many of them 
had their faults — they could drink and fight — but they were 
strong men, with energy and enthusiasm, which their suc- 
cessors may well envy. Their virtues were their own ; 
their vices and follies were those of the time. But they 
did good work for the little village they foimded in the 
forest, and we have no cause for shame when we recall 
their names. 

The troublous times of 1837-38 affected London to some 
extent, though less than other localities. Our historians, 
so far, are still somewhat too partisan in their views of 
the actors in what is usually spoken of as "the rebellion;" 
and the Conservatives and Liberals of to-day, inheriting the 
traditions of their political ancestors, are still inclined to 
view the past with eyes that can only distinguish black and 
white, but not the more neutral shades. As a matter of 
fact, the Tories and Reformers of rebellion times were 
neither so entirely black, nor so entirely white, as they 
have been painted. Many of the prominent pioneers of 
Upper Canada — U. E. Loyalists, as they are called — brought 
with them from the LTnited States that ultra loyalty in 
which the recollection of personal injuries inflicted by the 
victorious republicans was a prominent factor. They were, 
of course, really loyal to Britain; but many of them would 
have submitted to the altered form of government had they 
not been persecuted by the people of the United States, 
who confiscated the property and imperilled the lives of 
their Tory fellow-citizens. No wonder that when the lat- 
ter came to Canada they brought with them, not only their 
British loyalty, but an intense dislike for, and distrust of, 
the people and the institutions they had left behind. Any 
movement in favor of civil or religious freedom, was, in 
their eyes, a step towards rebellion and annexation. Who- 
ever desired any change from the established order of things 
was a prospective if not an actual rebel. As they them- 
selves (or, at least, their leaders) were the prominent men 
of the Province, and the friends and covmsellors of each 
successive governor, with excellent opportunities for aoquir- 
ing offices and appropriating lands, they naturally consid- 
ered the general situation perfectly satisfactory. The 
faults of which others complained were not so apparent to 
them ; and they might be pardoned if they heard the voice 


of the detested Yankee in every complaint that was uttered. 
But the demand for reform was certainly justified. 
There was no government of the people in the interests of 
the people. Municipal institutions were unknown. Nom- 
inally the Legislature ruled everything; but in fact the pop- 
vdar chamber was powerless. The Governor or his Council 
could, and frequently did, ignore the acts of the Assembly. 
At first the settlers outside of the little towns were too 
busy on their farms, striving to conquer the forest, utilize 
the soil, and secure a means of sustenance, to agitate for 
reforms, or struggle for political freedom. But this could 
not last. Agitation was sure to come. It came with 
Crourlay in 1817' — as true a loyalist as any Tory of his day. 
They crushed him, and drove him out of Canada. Other 
agitators followed ; Mackenzie, Rolph, Buncombe and their 
associates renewed the fight, and made their voices heard 
in the press and in the Legislature. 

There is not the slightest doubt that the great majority 
of the reformers were loyal men, who simply desired to 
cure some of the political evils that were retarding the 
progress of the country. But their opponents gave them 
credit for no sort of virtue. Ostracised, vilified, persecuted 
and prosecuted, it is no wonder that chagrin, anger, and 
despair of better things seemed to drive them into actual 

The leader of the rebels in the western part of the 
Province was Dr. Charles Buncombe. A native of the 
United States, he settled in Burford shortly after the war 
of 1812, and received a license to practice medicine in 1819.. 
He soon became a prominent man in the community. He 
was appointed a member of the Provincial Medical Board 
in 1832, and in 1834 was elected to the Legislature. He 
was one of the first to seek improvements in education, 
and with Doctors T. D. Morrison and Wm. Bruce, was ap- 
pointed on a commission to inspect the condition of schools 
and colleges. Dr. Hodgins, in his "Educational System of 
Ontario," says : "The year 1836 is noted in ovir educa- 
tional history for the efforts put forth vmder the direction 
of the Legislature by a trio of doctors (Duncomtae, Morri- 
son and Bruce) to inspect and improve our common school 
system. They brought in an elaborate report, and append- 
ed to it a voluminous bill, in which it was proposed to 
grant $60,000 per annum for the support of these schools." 
Of course the report got no further than the Assembly at 
that time. 


The same year Duncombe went to England with a peti- 
tion to the Imperial Government in the interests of poli- 
tical reform. On his return, when it was found that no 
remedy was likely to be provided, being in sympathy with 
the reformers, when their plans had been matured in To- 
ronto for an armed outbreak, he was urged by Mackenzie 
to lead the movement in the west. He reluctantly con- 
sented — recognizing the difficulties in the way and the doubt- 
ful prospects. Communicating- with his radical associates 
in Oxford, Middlesex and Norfolk, he endeavored to organize 
the forces of dissent. But the majority of them, so far as 
the Ijondon district was concerned, held aloof, and failure 
was assured from the beginning. Most of the people in the 
Town of London and the tovviiship were supporters of the 
Government, and the few who sympathized with the reform- 
ers were not prepared for actual rebellion. In the southern 
townships of Westminster, Yarmouth and Southwold, the 
Reformers were in the majority; but even of these very few 
favored rebellion. It is doubtful if Duncombe ever had as 
many as 300 under his command, and they disbanded and 
dispersed as the militia approached. 

Duncombe escaped. For a month he lay concealed in 
the house of his sister, Mrs. Schennick, about a mile south 
of London. As the vigilance of the militia abated, his 
friend, Chas. Tilden, living near Amhorstburg, visited him 
in his hiding piace and proposed that he should attempt to 
leave the country in the disguise of a woman — a disguise 
which his smooth round face and slight build rendered 
feasible. They started in the depth of winter (January, 
1838), stopped over night at the house of a friend on 
Hitchcock Street, London (now Maple Street), and pursu- 
ing their journey next day arrived safely at their destina- 
tion, crossing the river at Marine Citj-, Mich. 

The Conservative element of London was intent on sup- 
pressing dissent. John O'Neil headed an Orange brigade 
to drive out to wherever a meeting of Reformers was held 
and break it up if possible. Lawrence Lawrason and Col. 
Burwell were also leaders in these raids. But on one oc- 
casion at Nixon's, in Westminster, the so-called rebels were 
prepared for them, and they had to retreat in disorder. 
Then, of course, they called on the authorities for aid. 
Sheriff Hamilton was loyal enough; but he seems to have 
been lacking in enthusiasm, or doubtful of the wisdom of 
pursuing men who had committed no act of rebeMion; or, 
as some thought, he was constitutionally timid. At all 


events, he had to be spurred on — even to the extent of 
threatening him with the anger of the Government. 

Harris, Askin, Lawrason, and their associates, did the 
spurring effectively. Between them all they induced the 
sheriff to call out the militia and pursue the rebels ; large 
numbers were captured and imprisoned — including men who 
were not rebels at all. They scoured the country and ar- 
rested people on suspicion alone. London jail, which then 
consisted of some damp, dismal cells, under the court 
house, was crowded. At one time not iess than forty 
political prisoners were, huddled together in this mediaeval 
dungeon. The wholesale and indiscriminate arrests may be 
judged by the following fact : In Lindsay's "Life of Mac- 
kenzie" there is given a list of names of those taken into 
custody as rebels in the London district prior to the final 
invasion from Michigan in 1838. Out of 164 so arrested, 
97 were discharged by the magistrates without trial ; of the 
remainder who went to trial, 28 were either proven inno- 
cent or discharged by the judge ; 7 only were convicted and 
banished. Some few were liberated on bail. Seven guilty 
men out of 164 arrests shovved that the greater number 
were taken on suspicion alone. Only one — Alvira Ladd, 
Dennis O'Brien's brother-in-law, was condemned to death; 
but he was subsequently pardoned. 

But while these prisoners escaped with their lives, the 
fate of some were painful enough. Of the number who were 
gathered up from the southern townships, many, as I have 
already said, were simply arrested on suspicion. The bulk 
of the population consisted of loyal Scotchmen (with the 
exception of a few who had come in from the United 
States), who wanted neither independence nor annexation — 
only reform. But that did not free them from pains and 
penalties. Let me give a specimen case : 

John Grieve was born in Roxboroughshire, Scotland, in 
1808. When eight years old he came out with his father, 
who settled on the third concession of Westminster. Llere 
John married and established his home ; an honorable and 
religious man, and a good citizen, but like his neighbors, 
an advocate of political reform. He never joined the in- 
surgents, nor took up arms, but at a logging bee one day 
he spoke strongly against the evil courses of the ruling 
jiowers. That was enough to bring him under suspicion. 
His language was reported, and Capt. Robson, of London 
Township, drove out with a constable and arrested him. 


He was turned into prison with the rest of the suspects. 
Here for six months he lay, awaiting trial. I have seen 
a letter he wrote his wife, under dale of January 4th, 
183S, an old time-worn sheet, yellow with age; but the ink 
as black and the writing as distinct as though written yes- 
terday. And so he said to his wife, dating his letter from 
London jail, January 4th, 1838 : 

My Dear Wife : 

I am informed by the magistrate that I, with other 
prisoners, will be taken to Toronto immediately; the hand- 
cuffs are now a-making for us, and we expect to start to- 
morrow. I do not know for what purpose they are taking 
us; but I was told by Mr. Lawrason that we would prob- 
ably be tried before we were brought back. I have no idea 
when that time will be; but do not be disheartened my dear 
Jane, but trust to a kind Providence who ordereth all 
things well, that we will again enjoy domestic happiness 
together. My heart is with you though I be far away. 
Little Ann, poor thing, will forget me; but you will men- 
tion me sometimes to her. Above all, as soon as she is 
capable of imderstanding anything, speak to her of her 
Heavenly Father. Remember while I am gone there is a 
double duty devolves upon you. 

(Private affairs follow. Nothing about politics, of 
course, save indirectly in his closing words) : 

I wish that all my friends at this critical juncture may 
take good heed to their way, and walk strictly according 
to that which they consider their duty. 

And so he signs himself. 

Your affectionate husband, 


At his trial nothing could be proved, and he was dis- 
charged. But his health had broken down under confine- 
ment. Gray-haired and feeble, an old man while still in 
his youth, he went to his home and died in less than two 

By 1888 the rebellion appeared to have been totally 
quelled. A couple of the leaders had been executed in To- 
ronto; but Mackenzie, Duncombe, and their associates, had 
escaped to the United States. The colonists had shown 
their loyalty in no uncertain manner, and common sense 
should have, taught the most recalcitrant radical that armed 
resistance to the British crown was both futile and foolish. 


But some of the exiled Canadians, with their sympathizers 
in the States, kept up a continual agitation. A society for 
the deliverance of Canada was formed. Subordinate 
branches, termed "Hunter's Lodges," were organized. Prob- 
ably from 15,000 to 20,000 people were connected with 
this scheme. Plenty of money was provided by friends of 
the movement, and preparations for the invasion of Can- 
ada were made, with the connivance of the authorities of 
the United States. 

The threat of invasion was promptly met by the Cana- 
dians, and militia regiments (partly volunteers and partly 
drafted) were organized. London was not backward in this 
instance. A battalion of four companies (two from Lon- 
aon, and one each fromBayham and Yarmouth) formed the 
"Home Guard." Fortunately, they were not required to 
leave home. A British officer, Capt. Thos. H. Ball, was 
given command. The other officers from London were : 

Captains — John Wilson and William McMillan. 
Lieutenants — H. C. R. Becher and John Jennings. 
Ensigns— Sterne Ball and Thomas Ball. 
Paymaster — William Robertson. 
Adjutant — Ross Robertson. 
Surgeon — Dr. McKenzie. 
Quartermaster — Freeman Talbot. 

The men were enlisted for eighteen months; but were 
discharged before the time expired. 

The invasion of the Americans was confined to two 
raids — one at Prescott and the other at Windsor — both of 
which were disastrous failures. The raiders were promptly 
dispersed, many of them captured, and their leaders sum- 
marily executed. At Windsor the raid was marked by 
heartless brutality and serious damage to the property of 
the unresisting Canadians. But justice was swift and 
stern. Four of the prisoners at Windsor were shot by 
orders of Col. Prince, and the remainder were sent to Lon- 
don for trial. 

These men were not brought before the ordinary courts, 
but were tried by a court martial appointed by the Gov- 
ernment for that purpose, and consisting of Col. Bostwick, 
President ; Col. Perley and Geo. W. Whitehead, of Burford ; 
Major Barwick, of Blandford ; Col. James Ingersoll, and 
Major Beale, of Woodstock, judge advocate. The court sat 
in London from December 23rd, 1838, to January 19th, 


1839. There were 44 prisoners placed on trial, and all 
found guilty except one. Only a comparatively small num- 
ber, however, were executed ; the majority were either ban- 
ished or pardoned. 

As to the persons who met their fate at the hands of 
the law in London, historians are not in harmony. Kings- 
ford, Dent and most writers say there were seven, though 
their names are not all given. Judge Ermatinger, in his 
"Talbot Regime," gives five by name. Some of the older 
citizens with whom I have spoken are positive there were 
nine. The most reliable information I have been able to 
obtain is from the records, of the court martial in the Cana- 
dian archives. From there we learn that six were executed 
in London. They were the following : 

Hiram Bing Lynn, aged 26, from the United States; on 
January 7th, 1839. 

Daniel Davis, Bedford, aged 27, from Kippen, Canada ; 
on January 11th. 

Albert Clarke, aged 21, from the United States; Janu- 
ary 14th. 

Cornelius Cunningham, aged 32, from the United States; 
February 4th. 

Joshua Gilliam Doane, from Upper Canada, and 

Amos Perley, from New Brunswick, on February 6th. 

The following were transported : Samuel Snow, Elizur 
Stevens, J. Burwell Tyrrel, .John Seymore Guttridge, James 
Milne Aitchison, John Sprague, Robert Marsh, Oliver Cran- 
dall, Riley Monson Stewart, Henry V. Barnum, Alvin B. 
Sweet, James Peter Williams, Wm. Nottage, John Henry 
Simmons, Elijah C. Woodman, Chauncey Sheldon, James 
Dewitt Jerro, Michael Morin. 

The following were subsequently discharged : Robt. Whit- 
ney, Orin J. S. Mabee, Joseph Grason, Stephen Meadow, 
Harrison P. Goodrich, John Charter Williams, Daniel Ken- 
nedy, Joseph Horton, Ezra Horton, Cornelius Higgins, 
Charles Reed, David Hay, Wm. Jones, Israel Gibbs Att- 
wood, David McDougall, Geo. Putnam, Wm. Bartlett and 
Sydney Barber. 

Trueman Woodbury was ordered to be discharged, but 
before the order arrived he had escaped — apparently the 
only one of the number who was able to elude the vigilance 
of his jailer. 


The solitary acquittal was Abraham TiSany. The ages 
of 29 of the 44 persons are given. Of these, 10 were 20 
years and under — one being only 15 years old ; 10 were be- 
tween 20 and 30 years of age; 6 between 30 and 40; and 
only three over 40. Nothing shows more clearly the fact 
that many of the active rebels were only boys, who had no 
conception of the serious nature of their conduct. 

It may be of interest to read the terms of the death 
warrant ordering the execution of the condemned men : 

" Government House, January 29th, 1837. 
" James Hamilton, Esq., Sheriff, London District, London : 
" Sir, — I have the honor to transmit to you, by com- 
mand of the Lieutenant-Governor, three warrants for the 
execution, respectively, at London, of Cornelius Cunning- 
ham (on Monday, February 4th), Joshua Gilliam Doane 
and Amos Perley (on Wednesday, the 6th), pursuant to the 
sentence of the court-martial therein stated. His Excel- 
lency directs that the warrant be publicly read before the 
prisoners at the time and place of their execution. You 
will, moreover, have the goodness to acknowledge their re- 
ceipt by the first post, in order to obviate the necessity of 
transmitting to you the exemplification usually forwarded 
in cases like the present. I have the honor to be, sir, your 
most obedient humble servant, 


Misguided and mistaken these men may have been, but 
some of them, at least, met their end as brave men should. 

John Davidson, a farmer in Stanley Township, driving 
into town in January, 1839, overtook a lady walking into 
London, and gave her a ride in his sleigh. At the hotel 
where he stopped the hostler found a letter in the sleigh, 
which, it is supposed, was dropped by this lady. It was 
written by Joshua Doane to his wife. Now that all par- 
ties have left this earthly scene and the letter has no per- 
sonal interest, it may be given as an incidental record of 
the past : 

London, January 27th, 1839. 

Dear Wife, — I am at this moment confined in the cell 
from which I am to go to the scaffold. I received my sen- 
tence to-day, and am to be executed on February 6th. I 
am permitted to see you to-morrow, any time after 10 
o'clock in the morning, as may suit you best. I wish you 
to think of such questions as you wish to ask me, as I do 


not know how long you will be permitted to stay. Think 
as little of my unhappy fate as you can; as from the love 
you bear me, I know too well how it must affect you. I 
wish, you to inform my father and brother of my sentence 
as soon as possible. I must say good-bye for the night, 
and may God protect you and my dear child, and give you 
fortitude to meet that coming event with the Christian 
grace- and fortitude which is the gift of Him, our Lord, who 
created us. That this may be the case, is the prayer of 
your affectionate husband, JOSHUA G. DOANE. 

So, whether on the scaffold, or in the cell, or on the 
sick-bed, or in exile, the rebels and their sympathizers 
passed away ; and the black hand of the executioner dropped 
the curtain on the last act of the tragic drama of 1837. 

The close of the rebellion saw the beginning of a new 
era in London's progress. It was made a garrison town. 
The regiments quartered in the London Garrison were : The 
32nd and 83rd, from 1838 to 1841; the 1st Royals (Col. 
Wetherall) and the 14th, 1841 to 1843; 23rd Royal Welsh 
Fusiliers, 1843 to 1845; 82nd, 1845 to 1846; 81st,. 1846 to 
1847; 20th (Col. Home), 1847 to 1849; and the 23rd a 
second time in 1849, remaining till the troops were with- 
drawn in 1852. There was, also, always a battery of artil- 
lery forming part of the garrison.* 

There had previously been no garrison in this section of 
the Province, 'and when the military were required they had 
to be marched from a distance. The authorities now 
thought a different arrangement desirable. Col. Talbot's 
interest in St. Thomas might have been supposed sufficient 
to secure the garrison for that town. And, in fact, during 
the rebellion, the Thirty-fourth Regiment, under Col. Airey 
(Talbot's nephew) was stationed there. The regiment was 
first lodged in a wooden barracks, which was subsequently 
burned ; and it then found quarters in an old Methodist 
church. Had St. Thomas shown any disposition to pro- 
vide accommodation for the garrison, it might have been 
permanently located there. In default of this, however, 
London was selected. A large tract of land was reserved 
for the purpose, bounded on the west by St. Paul's Church 
property, south by Dufferin Avenue, east by Waterloo Street, 

*I am indebted for this record of the garrison troops to Major 
Gorman, of Sarnia, whose father was Librarian of the 23rd. 


and north by a line a little below Piccadilly Street. Sub- 
sequently there was quite a dispute between the town and 
the garrison over the portion now called Park Avenue. 
This had been closed up from the time the barracks v/as 
built, but the town claimed that the street must jbe opened, 
and had to open it almost by force of arms. Civil and 
military forces faced each other, the troops actually firing 
on the citizens, though with blank cartridges. But the 
civil power prevailed in the end. 

The Government appropriated $150,000 for the erection 
of a barracks. This consisted of long rows of two-story 
frame buildings, extending east and west, on the north part 
of the reserve, and north and sovith on the east side. The 
south-western part was vitilized as a parade ground. The 
barracks proper was surrounded by a stockade — two rows 
of posts placed close to each other, with holes through 
which the guns of the garrison could meet the attacking 
forces. The parade ground was closed in with a stump 
fence, the roots of the stumps facing outward. 

The principal contractor was EM. Matthews. He was 
an Englishman, who came to London in 1835, and took the 
leading place in town as a builder. He resided in a frame 
house on the north-east corner of Dundas and Richmond 
Streets, the shop being behind the house. His son-in-law, 
Pomeroy, was his manager, and also had a sawmill in Dor- 
chester, floating his lumber down the river to London. 
Matthews subsequently committed suicide. One of the sub- 
contractors was John Stewart, who came from the North 
of Ireland in 1837. His son, Samuel, was »vell known as 
a local tinsmith in later years. 

In January, 1838, the Thirty-second Regiment, Col. 
Maitland, was sent to the new garrison. The men were 
quartered in O'Brien's unfinished brick building, while the 
barracks was under completion; some being accommodated 
in temporary tents erected on the eastern side of the re- 
serves. Most of the officers were billeted in private houses, 
in one of which Col. Maitland died shortly after. 

Col. Home's name became identified with the city for 
many years. There was a big hill on the northern part of 
the reserve, between Pall Mall and Hyman Streets. This 
he cut down, and formed an embankment around a large 
reservoir supplied by the creek. This bore the name of 
Lake Home, and for many years was the center of attrac- 
tion for the citizens on the Queen's Birthday. Games of 


all kinds, boating, walking a greasy pole stretched across 
the water, and various other sports, supplied the amuse- 
ments with which to celebrate the day. All that remains 
now of Lake Home is the low plot south of the C.P.R. 

The garrison not only benefited the town by the addi- 
tion to business of all kinds resulting from the building of 
the barracks, and the maintenance of the troops, but it 
gave a decided impetus to social life. In the early days 
of the village the people had few amusements. For the 
women there were occasional gatherings in the church, a 
visit, and tea with a neighbor ; sometimes a quilting bee ; 
perhaps a dance once in a while. But most of them had 
enough to do in attending to their housework; and social 
functions were on a very limited scale. 

The men certainly found more time for dissipation than 
the women, and it took the form of drinking whiskey. 
Hotels, so-called, were numerous; two or three at every 
crossroad, and several in the block. It was the same in 
the country as in the town. On the Goderich road, some 
65 miles in length, there were in 1840 just 40 taverns. 
Everywhere could be seen the peculiar tavern sign, a post 
15 to 20 feet high; on the top a frame four or five feet 
square, and inside the frame, swinging from the upper bar, 
the square sign, with its special device illustrating the name 
of the establishment. The Hope Hotel, on the corner of 
Talbot and Dundas Streets, with its graceful figure resting 
against an anchor, and gazing eagerly into far-off space ; 
the Rob Roy, on Dundas and Richmond Streets, with the 
kilted Highlander ; the Prince of Orange, on Dundas and 
Clarence, with the figure of that noted gentleman on his 
white horse, his sword pointing out the fleeing Jacobites ; 
and so on. These oid tavern signs, once so familiar, are 
now seen no more, and the taverns are fast following the 
signs into oblivion. 

Distilleries also were numerous in those days. Prom- 
inent citizens, like Major Schofield, O'Brien, Goodhue, and 
others, manufactured whiskey and sold it cheap, sometimes 
as low as 25 cents a gallon. 

I have quoted previously Mrs. Jamieson's description of 
social life, summed up in the words : "A good deal of 
drunkenness and profligacy." We must admit the drunk- 
enness. It was a fashionable foHv. If she heard of a cer- 


tain magistrate being picked up in the street "dead drunk," 
he was no worse than the' old-time statesmen of England, or 
the United States, who have been known, after finishing up 
a banquet, to sleep off the effects of it on the dining-room 
floor. Commissioner Jones, of the Canada Company at 
Goderich, being asked if a certain person was not drunk at 
his house, answered : "Upon my life, I don't know. I 
never saw a man drunk at my house. I'm always drunk 
first myself." Total abstinence was at a discount. There 
were some few abstainers, and some temperance societies, 
but they were not popular. Col. Talbot, in a notable 
speech to his neighbors on St. George's Day, 1832, could 
not find stronger language in which to condemn the radicals 
of the time than by declaring that they had "commenced 
their work of darkness under cover of organized damned cold- 
water drinking societies." And it is said that the Colonel, 
as the patriarch of his settlement, vised to summon all his 
neighbors to his house on Sundays, where he read the 
Church service for their benefit, while to ensure their 
prompt attendance at prayers, the whiskey was passed 
around after the benediction. 

It is not likely that the advent of the military discour- 
aged the drinking cvistoms of the early Londoners ; but it 
gave a stimulus to society life that was perhaps needed. 
Sports of all kinds were orga,nized;, horse-races, cricket, and 
other athletic amusements; theatrical plays and balls; and 
society functions, became a feature of London life. Here 
the young ladies met the black coats and scarlet jackets — 
danced, flirted and married. The scarlet color, of course, 
was the favorite. Miss Lizars found a jingling ode, said 
to have been written by a commissariat officer about this 
time, in which a young lady is supposed to have proclaimed 
the joys of London society. A couple of verses will be 
sufficient : 

Sing the delights of London society — 

Epaulette, sabretache, sword-knot and plume ; 
Always enchanting, yet knows no variety — 

Scarlet alone can embellish a room. 
While spurs are clattering, 
Flirting and chattering. 

Bend the proud heroes that .fight for the crown; 
Dancing cotillions. 
Cutting civilians. 

These are the joys of a garrison town. 


" Little reck we of you black-coated laity ; 

Forty to one upon rouge aga'inst noir ; 
On soldiers we lavish our favors and gaiety, 

For the rest we leave them to feel desespoir. 

Odious vulgarity, 
Reckless barbarity, 

We have for such canaille as these but a frown ; 
While llirting with fusiliers, 
Smiling on grenadiers — 

These are the joys of a garrison town." 

But it .was not all "beer and skittles." The people were 
not indifferent to the more serious things of life. Education 
was not neglected. Many of the early settlers, being arti- 
sans and farmers, may not have had much book learning, 
but they tried to provide for their children. There were no 
free public schools then; and fees had to be paid — generally 
about $1 a month— and in some cases even higher. 

The first school was in the building that had been erect- 
ed for a temporary court house — Peter Van Every being the 
teacher. I have not been able to obtain any special infor- 
mation of this pioneer educator; though he lived in London 
for several years, and was the owner of property on the 
north-east corners of Richmond and Dundas Streets. Mr. 
Rutledge was the next to open a school ; then came John 
Hawkins, about the present market, and E. A. Talbot, on 
the corner of Queen's Avenue and Richmond Street. Some 
of the earij' teachers were not of the best quality — people 
who were too lazy and too ignorant for any other busi- 
ness. Talbot, however, was a well-educated man. Another 
good school was that of Miss Stimson, daughter of one of 
our early physicians — a cultured lady. Aided by her niece. 
Miss Grannis, she started a school in a log house of one 
room, in which a desk, two or three low forms, and a 
chair for the teacher, constituted the entire furniture, and 
a few books and slates the educational apparatus. Subse- 
quently she moved to a house on the corner of Talbot and 
Carling Streets. It is said she occasionally punished the 
bad boys by putting them in the cellar, where they consoled 
themselves by stealing the teacher's preserves. 

Perhaps the most notable school in these days was that 
of William Taylor, an Irishman, from Trinity College, Dub- 
lin, and an experienced teacher, who began on Talbot Street, 
just south of York. Then he moved to the north side of 


Horton Street, near Talbot. Though a good teacher, his 
academic actions were conducted with an absolute disregard 
of manners and dignity. The schoolroom was an addition 
to the house proper, and served the double purpose of an 
academy and a kitchen. Taylor attended to his duties in 
what he may have considered full dress— for he always wore 
his hat in school— and alternated instruction in three "R's" 
with the care of the cooking-stove; with one hand holding 
the tawse and with the other manipulating the frying-pan. 
The boys relieved the tedium of study by putting corked 
bottles of water on the stove, shying the most convenient 
missiles at the teacher's hat, sticking bent pins in his chair, 
and indulging in the time-honored practice of studious 
youths of all ages. Then the teacher would pursue the 
boys with a gad and thrash them impartially. 

The first attempt at state aid tor educational purposes 
in Canada was in 1819. By an Act of Parliament, the 
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province was authorized to ap- 
point five trustees for each district, who were to choose a 
teacher (subject to the Governor's approval), for a district 
grammar school, the Government allowing £100 per annum 
for his support. These were not free schools, of course. 
An act fixed the location of the school at the judicial seat 
of the district, so that in the London district it was first 
kept at Charlotteville, but in 1808 was removed to Vit- 
toria. By Act 7, Wm. IV., Chap. CVI., the school for the 
London district was removed here, and opened in the old 
building where Van Every first taught. And there it re- 
mained until grammar schools lost their distinctive char- 
adter and became high schools and collegiate institutes. 

The first grammar school principal was the Rev. Francis 
Wright, but I have been imable to discover anything definite 
about him, beyond the fact that he had the charge of the 
school until the Rev. B. Bayley was appointed. 

Newspapers are supposed to be educational institiitions, 
and London was not without its number. I have already 
mentioned Talbot's Sun. After it ceased to shine, the 
Patriot was issued by George Burchard, in 1833; but only 
lived for a few months. About 1835, Col. Busteed, who 
had been Secretary to the Governor of St. Lucia, W. I., 
published the True Sun for a short time. In 1835 Thos. 
and Benjamin Hodgkinson came from Port Burwell, and 
established the London Gazette. In 1836 Edward Gratton 
sent out a few numbers of the London Times ; and in 1839 


Talbot commenced the Freeman's Journal, and C. IL Hack- 
staff the Canadian Inquirer. The Gazette was the Con- 
servative paper, while the Inquirer advocated the views of 
the Reformers. 

Religious instruction was, if anything, more advanced 
than secular. Dignitaries of the Anglican and Catholic 
churches visited the district in its earliest days, and 
itinerant clergymen, both regular and irregular, gave 
spiritual aid to the pioneers to the extent of their ability. 
I have already made some brief reference to them, which 
may here be extended. 

Rev. Mr. Cronyn's advent, in 1832, provided the first 
permanent settlement for his church. Though there were 
not more than 400 people in the village — if that many— 
quite a few were Church of England peopia ; while there 
were many more in I>ondon Township. The lands held by 
Bishop Stewart, on Dundas and Ridout Streets, were dis- 
posed of, and the present site of St. Paul's Cathedral se- 
cured. Here the first Anglican Church was built — a frame 
structure, with a square tower — facing south on Queen's 
Avenue. It was opened in 1835 ; destroyed bj^ fire on Ash 
Wednesdav, 1844, and was succeeded bv the present cathe- 

There were a number of Catholics among the pioneers 
of London — Dennis O'Brien, John Cruickshank, P. Smith, 
J. Henry, Dr. Anderson, and others. O'Brien was the 
leader, and his house was always open for the use of the 
visiting clergy. But this did not satisfy the ambitions of 
a people always zealous for their faith. A building was 
soon erected on the south-west corner of Richmond and 
Maple Streets, and in 1834 it was dedicated by Father. 
Downie, of St. Thomas. Humble in appearance ; built of 
logs, with an earthen floor, it was yet one of the first 
church edifices duly consecrated to divine service, and served 
the needs of its worshippers imtil destroyed by fire in 1851. 

I have mentioned the little Methodist Church, built in 
1833, but I have no definite information in regard to it. 
While the Wesleyan Methodists, as they were then called, 
held continuous service in the village from its earliest days, 
it was not until 1839 that the first substantial building 
was erected, on the south-east corner of Talbot and King 
Streets. Here they w^orshipped until their removal, some 
years later, to Richmond Street, nearly opposite the site 
of the City Hall, and the old building passed into the hands 


of the Baptists. Among their earfy ministers here were 
Morris, Stoney, Whitney, Newburg, Carson, Bennett and 

The first Presbyterian congregation was gathered to- 
gether about 1832, under the Rev. John Proudfoot, father 
of the late Dr. Proudfoot, who succeeded him in the charge 
of his church. This was a U. P. (United Presbyterian) 
body. It was some few years before they were able to 
erect a building of their own— a frame structure — located on 
York Street, west of where the Tecumseh House now 
stands, which was used until its destruction by fire in 1859. 
A notable feature in the history of this church is the fact 
that here — probably for the first time in Canada — instru- 
mental music was employed in the service of a Presbyterian 
Church. For many years after they commenced accom- 
panying the singing of the Psalms with an old-fashioned 
melodeon, the " Kist of Whistles," was looked upon 
by other Presbyterians with holy horror. 

There were some Presbyterians, however, who considered 
themselves as belonging to the Established Church of Scot- 
land, and gradually withdrew from the First Church, hav- 
ing the Word expounded by missionaries and visiting 
clergymen. They finally became strong enough to form a 
distinct body, and, I think, a Mr. Eraser, a banker, was 
their principal elder. But it was not until 1842 that they 
secured from the Government a lot on the north-east cor- 
ner of North and Waterloo Streets ; proceeded to erect a 
church, and to call the Rev. John Scott as minister. This 
body became St. Andrew's Free Church — the loyal adherents 
of the Church of Scotland withdrawing, but claiming the 
building. To induce them to surrender their claim, the 
Government granted them the Gore, on Richmond Street, 
in 1859, where they erected the cruciform building, still 
standing, and became what was called the "Auld Kirk," 
with Rev. Francis Nicol as minister. And so there were 
three Presbyterian denominations in London, until the 
union of 1875. 

Other religious bodies began to develop in the early 
days — Universalists, Congregationalists, Baptists, etc.; but 
their definite organization dates to a later period. 

In this connection a certain transaction may be men- 
tioned, which is not only historical, but illustrative of the 
early law of land tenure. There were a number of New 
Connexion Methodists here in the later thirties, and they 


thought they would like to have a building of their own. 
Col. Talbot had charge of the assignment of crown lands, 
and he gave them the corner where the public library is 
now located. They commenced to build; but their funds 
were insufTicient, and the building remained for a time un- 
finished. As there seemed no prospect of the Methodists 
going on with their work, the officers of the garrison asked 
Col. Talbot to transfer the lot to them, which he did. 
Now the Colonel's method of dealing with applicants for 
crown lands was a very simple one. He took his map, and 
with a pencil marked the applicant's name on the lot se- 
lected. This was all the title the owner had until his fees 
to the Government were paid, and he received his patent 
for the land. Until this was done, the Colonel controlled 
the situation ; and if the land was not improved to his 
satisfaction, he rubbed the holder's name off his map, and 
wrote down someone else's. It was in accordance with this 
system that he erased the name of the Methodist New Con- 
nexion, and inserted that of Mr. Raynor, the commissariat 
officer, who did not delay taking out his patent. The 
church building was finished as a theatre — opened in 1840 ; 
and on its little stage for many years striitted the amateur 
actors of garrison times — including some who are grave and 
dignified citizens of London to-day. When the troops left, 
the property remained in the name of Mr. Raynor, its legal 
owner, and when he died, a well-known citizen purchased it 
from his widow for a nominal sum. 

The growing importance of the settlement now rendered 
it necessary that the haphazard system under which its 
affairs had been managed, should cease. Municipal insti- 
tutions, as we know them, did not exist in the earliest days 
of the Province. The Governor-in-Council practically had 
charge of everything. The Parliament for the Province was 
summoned in 1792, and that body took general oversight 
of municipal matters, delegating to the board of qtiarter 
sessions some minor details. Then an act was passed, 
providing for the organization of township municipalities, 
by a vote taken at a meeting of the householders, with 
authority to elect certain township officers with limited 
powers. On the first Monday of January, 1819, the first 
town meeting for London Township was held at the house 
of Joshua Applegarth, a short distance west of " The 
Forks." The summons for the meeting was issued by two 
magistrates. Col. Talbot and Daniel Springer. Applegarth 
was elected first clerk ; Richard Talbot and Christopher 
Oxtoby, assessors ; John Young, John Gety and Ezekiel 


Gilman, roadmasters; Thomas Routledge and Daniel Hines, 
poundkeepers ; Wm. Asket and Thomas Askins, wardens. 
And by these officers and their successors the settlement of 
London was governed for a time. 

But under this system local affairs were far from satis- 
factory. The streets were unimproved, and ornamented 
with stumps ; sidewalks, where they existed at all, con- 
.sisted of a few planks. The fire department was a bucket 
brigade — every householder being required to own a leather 
bucket, and when a fire occurred, to fall into line with his 
neighbors, and pass the buckets from hand to hand. The 
lighting of the streets at night was effected by the tallow 
candles shining dimly from the windows of houses, and the 
brighter lamp from the tavern door; while the belated citi- 
zen navigated the streets with the aid of a tin lantern, 
punctured full of holes in a more or less ornamental pat- 
tern. The waterworks started with a pump at the court 
house square, supplied by those springs that have given 
our aldermen so much trouble in keeping the west end of 
Dundas Street properly paved. Later, tanks were con- 
structed at some of the street corners for fire-fighting pur- 
poses; while the domestic supply came from the old-fash- 
ioned bucket dipped into the old-fashioned well. 

Sir James Alexander, a military officer, stationed in 
London a few years later (1842), when matters had some- 
what improved, thus describes the looks of the little town : 

"Among innumerable stumps of trees, blasted by fire and 
girdling, were seen wide streets at right angles to each 
other. These were for the most part bordered by scat- 
tered wooden houses, of one and two stories, and many had 
vegetable gardens about them. Stumps of trees were seen 
in all directions along the street, and some might have 
been found in the cellars and kitchens of the houses. In 
the principal thoroughfares — Dundas Street — where the best 
stores are, the houses were adjacent, and some few of 

If this is how the town looked in 1842, it is evident 
that public improvements were a pressing necessity in 1838, 
when the people began agitating for a separate municipal 
government. Under the existing system it was evident no 
improvements could be made. Occasionally a London man 
was elected to office. John Jennings was a warden in 
1838. And in appointing roadmasters and poundkeepers, 
local men were selected for the territory between " The 


Forks." The township council was not disposed to raise 
mvich money for the benefit of the village. In 1837 about 
£,7 10s. were expended for a pump on the court-house 
square, and for some drains and other repairs on the 
streets. But, as a rule, what few local improvements were 
made had to be provided for by local subscriptions. And 
while some of the settlers were public-spirited, many were 
not disposed to open their pockets for the public good. On 
one occasion, it is said a meeting was called to consider 
the advisability of purchasing a fire engine. Some were 
favorable; but Thomas Parke, M.P., effectually settled the 
agitation by pointing out that it would be much cheaper 
for the people to go to a fire just as soon as it com- 
menced, at which time a few buckets of water would ex- 
tinguish it. 

In the meantime, the settlement had outgrown the limits 
of the original survey. Mr. Goodhue had purchased a por- 
tion of the Kent farm, north of the original survey, and 
laid it out in May. 1830, as far north as Hitchcock (now 
Maple) Street. Mr. Kent followed this example, and his 
survey of the land from Hitchcock to Kent Street bears 
date of May 28th, 1832. East of the settlement, people 
began to take up land at an early date, and this portion, 
extending east to Adelaide, and north to Huron Streets, 
was finally laid out between 1838 and 1840, being known 
for many years as the "New Survey." The first plan of 
this part of our city is on record in the Crown Lands De- 
partment, and bears the signature of William Hawken, of 
the Surveyor-General's office, and the date of May 11th, 

The new survey, however, was not completely opened 
up. There were three reservations embraced in this area. 
The first was the Schofield property, extending from Dun- 
das Street northward to about 100 feet above Princess 
Avenue. Its western boundary ran between Colborne and 
Maitland, and the eastern between Maitland and William, 
When this was subsequently surveyed, the streets opened 
through it were much narrower; which accounts for the 
jogs in this part of the city. Then there were the Glebe 
lands of the Church of England, which extended from Dun- 
das Street, south to Trafalgar, and from the line of what 
is now Burwell Street, east to Adelaide. The third was 
the military reservation previously described. 

West of Richmond and north. of Central Avenue was also 
at this time unsurveyed. But it was decided in obtaining 


a charter for the village to take in all this contiguous ter- 
ritory — the proposed boundaries being from Huron Street, 
south to the river, and Trafalgar Street, and east from the 
river to Adelaide. 

The result of the movement was the passage of an Act 
of Parliament, on the 10th of February, 1840, to "define 
the limits of the Town of London, in the district of Lon- 
don, and to establish a board of police therein." The area 
asked for was allowed ; and all placed imder the control of 
the board of police — exclusive only of the military reserva- 

The board was constituted " a body, corporate and 
politic, in fact and in law,", by the name of "The President 
and Board of Police of London." 

The new town was divided into four wards ; and the 
lines of division doubtless give some indication of the loca- 
tion of the residents. St. George's Ward took in all north 
of the center of Dundas Street, about two-thirds of the en- 
tire area ; St. Patrick's Ward extended from the south side 
of Dundas to the north side of King ; St. Andrew's, from 
the south side of King to the north side of Bathurst; and 
St. David's, from the south side of Bathurst to the south- 
ern boundary of the town. 

The Board of Police was to consist of five persons, one 
to be chosen from each ward, and these four to elect the 

The power of the board, while not very extensive, yet 
provided for a far greater measure of self-government than 
the people had previously enjoyed. It could raise money 
by taxes, not exceeding four pence on the pound, a town 
lot not to be rated above £5. It could make by-laws 
regulating victualling houses and slaiighter-houses; the sale 
of hay, wood and bread; immoderate driving, fire protec- 
tion, street repairs, and generally to control nuisances, and 
to preserve order. 

By authority of the Act the sheriff held the first election 
on the first Monda^y in March, 1840, with the following 
results : 

St. George's Ward — Geo. J. Goodhue. 
St. Patrick's Ward— Dennis O'Brien. 
St. Andrew's Ward — Simeon Morril. 
St. David's Ward— John Balkwill. 


The board organized by the appointment of James 
Givens (afterwards judge), a fifth member; Mr. Goodhue was 
chosen President; Alex. Robertson, Clerk, and John Harris, 

These men have all been mentioned in the course of this 
paper, with the exception of the Clerk, who appears to 
have been a shiftless sort of person. Two brothers were 
running a tinshop, and* were men of good repute, but Alex- 
ander must have been of a lower type; made a very poor 
Clerk, and only held office for a year. 

But with five of the leading citizens in control, London 
made a good start as a municipality. With a population 
of over 2,000. with leaders characterized by energy and 
business abiiity; and with favorable conditions, its pros- 
pects for the future were bright, and the hopes of the 
people were sure to be realized. 

Bishop of Huron, 1857-1871. 


On a chill November evening, in the year 1832, along 
the bush road, following the Indian trail between the 
Niagara and Detroit Rivers, just south of the present City 
of London (now known as the Commissioner's Road), there 
toiled in a rough lumber wagon a weary, travel-stained 
family of immigrants, consisting of the Reverend Benjamin 
Cronyn, then just thirty years of age, his wife, and two 
young children. Circumstances and surroundings more de- 
pressing could hardly be conceived. After several weeks' 
voyage, in an ill-found sailing vessel from Dublin, they had 
arrived in Quebec, and were now pursuing their weary way 
to the Township of Adelaide, to bring the ministrations of 
the church to the settlers there, who had been represented 
to Mr. Cronyn before leaving home, as numerous and wholly 
without the services of an ordained minister. For days 
this solitary wagonload had jolted along through the nar- 
row, stumpy road, far from home and friends, in the midst 
of a wilderness, strangers in a strange land, night falling 
fast, and no apparent refuge near, the father's heart was 

[*The Right Reverend Benjamin Cronyn, first Bishop of Huron, 
son of Thomas Cronyn, Esq., of Kilkenny, Ireland ; born there 
11th July, 1802 ; educated at Kilkenny College and Trinity Col- 
lege, Dublin ; B.A. in 1822, Divinity Prizeman 1824, M.A. 1825, 
D.D. 1855 ; ordained Deacon by the Lord Bishop of Raphoe in 
1825, and Priest by the Archbishop of Tuam on Trinity Sunday, 
1827. His first Curacy was in t'he County of Cumberland, Eng- 
land, under the Rev. Carus Wilson; afterwards at Kilcormick, 
County Longford, Ireland, where he married Margaret Ann Bicker- 
staff, daughter of J. Bickerstaff, Esq., of Lislea, and from whence 
he came to Canada in 1832. Was Incumbent at London from 
1832 to 1866 ; elected first Bishop of Huron at London, Canada, 
8th July, 1857 (the first Episcopal election held in Canada) ; 
consecrated at Lambeth, England, by His Grace the Archbishop 
of Canterbury on 28th October, 1857 ; died at London, Canada, 
on the 2nd September, 1871.] 


sorely anxious for his delicate wife and little ones. From 
a solitary traveller they happened to meet, he inquired 
whether any shelter was to be found in the neighborhood, 
and then for the first time heard of the Village of " The 
P''orks" (London), distant about two miles to the north of 
where they were. Thither they made their way, down the 
Wharncliffe Road and over Westminster bridge; said to be 
the first bridge ever erected across the Thames in that 
neighborhood. They put up at a hotel, dignified by the 
title of " The Mansion House," kept by one John O'Neil, 
situated on the north side of Dundas Street, just west of 
where Perrin's factory now stands. 

London then contained about four hundred inhabitants. 
It was the year of. the cholera, and, in consequence, much 
excitement prevailed amongst' them, many having fled to the 
woods in dread of the contagion. So utterly worn out was 
Mrs. Cronyn that it was decided to rest there for a time. 
The arrival of a Church of England clergyman becoming 
known to the inhabitants, all were summoned to service on 
Sunday, in a frame building on the south-west corner of 
the court-house square, which building still stands ; it 
originally served the purpose of the district court house. 
It is said that it was first erected where the court house 
now stands, and was moved to its present position to 
make way for the erection of the court house. I had al- 
ways understood that 'the first house erected in London was 
by Peter McGregor in 1826, near the corner of King and 
Ridout Streets, but in "Annals of the Colonial Church" — a 
work published in Quebec many years ago — the Honorable 
and Reverend Dr. Stewart is said to have reported that on 
Sunday, July 28th, 1822, he ministered to a congregation 
of nearly 250 persons in London, and the same misleading 
statement having reappeared in "The Bishops in Canada" 
— a work by the Reverend Canon Mockridge, of Toronto — I 
accordingly wrote Mr. Freeman Talbot, of Strath-Carrol, 
Assiniboia East, now in his 92nd year, who settled in the 
Township of London in 1818, and has a vivid recollection 
of these early years, suggesting that perhaps it was in the 
first church at St. John's, London Township, Dr. Stewart 
had officiated in 1822. He replies as follows : 

"South Qu'Appelle, April 11th, 1902. 
"My Dear Friend, — Though now in my ninety-second 
year, I am both able and willing to answer every question 
put to me in your letter of April 7th. 


" The frame of St. John's Church was erected on lot 
17, the 5th concession of London Township; was shingled, 
roughly sided, and a temporary floor put in, and also very 
temporary windows; so the church stood in 1823, but no 
further work was done until late in the forties, though 
your father frequently had services, there. About 1845 or 
1846, Mr. Brough employed John Hasket, a carpenter, to 
complete the church. He laid down a proper floor, erected 
a pulpit and pews, and I acted as auctioneer in selling the 
pews. We gave due credit to every original subscriber who 
had paid his subscription many years before. And the 
subscribers for the completion of the church, who came in- 
to the township much later, were perfectly satisfied with 
the arrangement. Old Mr. Fralic (long since dead) donated 
two acres, on the north-east corner of his lot, for the 
church site and burial ground. 

" As early as 1822, Mr. Mcintosh, the clergyman at 
St. Thomas, preached twice in the barn of the late William 
Geary, on lot 15, 5th concession of London. The Reverend 
Edward Boswell also held frequent services in the Geary 
barn. ]\Ir. Geary was an English farmer, and was em- 
ployed by an Irish nobleman to superintend the agricul- 
tural works on his estate. While so employed he married 
a Miss Jones, who was the daughter of an Episcopal 
clergyman, and she always had a strong influence in at- 
tracting Episcopal clergymen to hold services in the barn. 
Frequent baptisms were held in the same building, and it 
was in that barn that the Rev. Dr. Stewart ofliciated in 

" In 1826 Peter McGregor, a little Scotch tailor, who 
had married a Miss Pool, in the Township of Westminster, 
came to the town site, just surveyed, and erected a very 
small hotel on the second lot, west of Ridout Street, front- 
ing on King Street. Year after year, as business in- 
creased, Mr. McGregor added to his hotel, until he was able 
to entertain forty or fifty visitors from day to day. 

"I see by a report in a London paper of a speech made 
by Judge Hughes, where he speaks of a Mr. McCann being 
an early hotelkeeper. A great mistake. William Hale, 
Dr. Lee, Joseph O'Dell, John O'Neil and Boyle Travis con- 
ducted from time to time the two leading hotels in Lon- 
don : the Robinson Hall and the Mansion House. In after 
years Peter McCann erected an hotel just across the street 
from the Cathedral. Peter was keeping that hotel at the 
time I left London, in 1856. 


" In the month of August, 1832, the British Govern- 
ment sent out four hundred discharged soldiers and pen- 
sioners, many with large families, to settle in the Town- 
ship of Adelaide on free grants. Houses were built for 
them under the direction of the late Col. Roswell Mount, 
at the time Member of Parliament for Middlesex. I erected 
thirty-two of these houses, by a contract with Col. Mount. 
At the same time came, I believe, with these men your 
father, the Blakes, the Radcliffs, the Currans, and many of 
the former officers of the discharged soldiers. Your father 
had intended to settle in Adelaide, but the people of Lon- 
fion persuaded him to remain with them. On the 8th day 
of January, 1833, your father married Freeman Talbot and 
Ann Eliza Clark, the first couple ever married by your 
father in Canada, as you will see by the records to-day in 
St. Paul's Cathedral. Your obedient servant, 


On the Monday after Mr. Cronyn's first service, men- 
tioned above, he was waited upon by a deputation of the 
congregation, begging him to remain with them as their 
pastor ; and immediately on this, came entreaties from 
many couples in the neighborhood to be married, some of 
whom had for years lived together as husband and wife, 
but had never had an opportunity of marriage by an 
ordained minister. So, guided by one named Robert 
Parkinson, familiar with the bush, on horseback, they fol- 
lowed for days blazed lines through the woods, stopping at 
the .settlers' shanties, the parson performing many mar- 
riages, oftentimes uniting the parents and baptizing their 
children. Previous to Mr. Cronyn's arrival in London, it 
had been intended to erect a church on the north-west 
corner of Dundas and Ridout Streets ; at least such is the 
tradition — certainly several burials were made in that lot — 
but on application to the Government, Mr. Cronyn secured 
the grant of the block of land upon which St. Paul's now 
stands, and in 1835 had erected thereon a frame church 
facing the south. Thus described in a book published in 
1836 : "The Episcopal Church, if we except the spire, 
which is disproportioned to the size of the tower, is one of 
the finest, and certainly one of the neatest churches in the 
Provincr." Between the Church and Dundas Street was a 
dismal swamp, full of >fallen trees and imderbrush, where the 
frogs held high carnival in summer. 

Among the early settlers in the Township of Adelaide 
were manv of education and refinement, whose antecedents 


unfitted them for the rough life of the bush ; consequently 
great distress soon prevailed amongst them, and during Mr. 
Cronyn's first winter, on one occasion he, with his friend 
Colonel Curran, started on foot from London to Adelaide, 
carrying a quarter of beef strung from a pole between them, 
for the relief of friends among settlers there. Soon the 
load grew heavy, necessitating frequent stoppages for rest. 
Night came on, and the wolves numerous, fierce and daring 
in those days, scenting the raw beef, howled uncomfortably 
near. To add to their troubles, they lost the trail in the 
dark, and when about to abandon the beef and endeavor to 
retrace their steps, discovered a light, and inaking for it 
found a logger's shanty, where, stretched on the floor, with 
feet towards a huge fire, the choppers slept. They hospitably 
made room between them for the tired travellers, who laid 
down and rested there for several hours, but were again on 
the march long before daylight, furnished by the choppers 
with a lantern, which for a time showed them the trail 
and kept the wolves at a distance; but soon the light went 
out and they again lost their path, the wolves howling 
dangerously near, when they were discovered by some of 
the settlers on the lookout for the expected succour. 

Often have I listened to strange fireside tales by my 
father and friends of their Adelaide experience. How they 
used to sleei> on a straw tick, on a heap of brush for a 
bedstead, in the corner of the shanty ; of the inconvenience 
resulting from fowl roosting overhead ; how the bedtick 
grew thin, and the brush underneath becoming painfully 
present, was explained by the fact, that in order to keep 
life in the solitary cow, she was being fed daily from the 
straw-tick. And, again, the host explaining, that it was 
not frequent washing of his night-cap that necessitated its 
being hung out to dry, but simply because it was in it the 
pudding had been boiled. And how at night they were 
lulled by the howling of the wolves, which at times becom- 
ing too noisy, the door of the shanty would be thrown 
open and a shot fired in the direction of the nearest howl, 
when silence would follow. 

Soon after his arrival in London, my father was ap- 
pointed to the parish of London and the parts adjacent. 
And in 1836, on the creation of the Rectories of St. Paul's, 
London, and St. John's, London Township, was appointed, 
by patent from the Crown, Rector of both. The latter he 
resigned in 1842, and that of St. Paul's in 1866. A fear- 
less horseman, he almost lived in the saddle in the early 


years of his ministry, endeavoring to accomplish the work 
of his limitless parish, and being an expert swimmer, he 
would, if the weather permitted, boldly swim his horse over 
swollen streams that crossed his path. I have seen him, 
on returning home after a particularly miry ride— he and 
his horse bespattered with mud— unsaddle, and throwing off 
all but shirt and trousers, swim the horse in the river to 
wash off the mud. On one occasion, when driving into 
town from his residence on the hill, near where Mount St. 
Joseph's Orphange now stands, with Mrs. Cronyn and a 
son and daughter— aged thirteen and nine, respectively— in 
the carriage, the horse took fright at a hole in the bridge 
over the medway, and backed the vehicle off into the river. 
He and Mrs. Cronyn leaped out on to the bridge, but the 
children went down with the horse and carriage into about 
eight feet of water. The horse struggled to the iog pier 
of the bridge, where he was able to keep his head above 
water, but the children, who had been thrown from the car- 
riage, went to the bottom. Mr. Cronyn, without even re- 
moving his hat, waited until the water cleared sufficiently 
to enable him to see objects in the bottom, when he dove 
down, and, taking a child on each arm, swam ashore with 
them. My sister was insensible, but soon recovered. 

In 18S6 Sir Francis Bond Head, then [Lieutenant-Governor 
of Upper Canada, visited London; he and his suite on horse- 
back. When leaving, Mr. Cronyn and other prominent citi- 
zens accompanied them for some miles out of town, the 
parson's faithful hoimd following When crossing the Oak 
Plains, south-east of London, a deer sprang out into the 
open glade, the hound in full cry, and the whole cavalcade. 
Governor and Parson, joined in the himt, and had an ex- 
citing chase until, the deer crossing the river, tlie scent was 

In 1837, Mr. Cronyn, having visited Ireland, was return- 
ing, bringing with him a number of thoroughbred dogs for 
friends here, which, on the road between Hamilton and 
London, were being conveyed in a covered wagon following 
the stage. The weather was bitterly cold at Brantford, 
and the stage proprietor, with rough and blasphemous 
language, refused to permit a thinly-clad negro to ride in- 
side the stage. Mr. Cronyn remonstrated ineffectvially, and 
then suggested that the negro might turn v,in with the dogs, 
which he gladly did. This was Josiah Henson, the original 
of Mrs. Stowe's "Uncle Tom," just escaped from slavery. 


Often afterwards did he personally thank his benefactor of 
that instance. 

I have sometimes heard the identify of Henson with 
Mrs. Stowe's Uncle Tom questioned, but in 1876 the late 
Rev. W. Harrison Tilley, first Rector of the Cronyn Memo- 
rial Church, wrote Mrs. Stowe on the subject, and I have 
here her reply, as follows : 

" Amherst, Mass., May 15th, 1876. 
" Dear Sir, — I take pleasure in endorsing with all my 
heart that noble black man, Josiah Henson, whom I believe 
to be worthy of all the aid, and help, which any good man 
may be disposed to give. It is also true that a sketch of 
his life, published many years ago by the Mass. Anti- 
Slavery Society-, furnished me many of the finest concep- 
tions, and incidents, of Uncle Tom's character. In parti- 
cular, the scene where he refuses to free himself by the 
murder of a brutal master. 

" The real history of Josiah Henson. in some points 
goes even beyond that of Uncle Tom, in traits of heroic 
manhood. He once visited me in Andover, and personal 
intercourse confirmed the high esteem I had for him. I 
lieartily hope he may have friends to assist him in his 
difficulties. Yours very truly, H. B. STOWE." 

To add some of my own more personal recollections of 
these times, I will begin with the year of the Rebellion, 

1837. I was then in my fifth year. We resided on lot 
15, in the 3rd concession of London, on the brow of the 
hill, over the north branch of the Thames, before referred 
to. All male adults had been summoned to serve in the 
militia, and all firearms requisitioned for their use. My 
father was absent in Ireland, on urgent family affairs. My 
mother surrendered to the militia all firearms in her pos- 
session, with many musket bullets cast by henself. We lived 
in hourly apprehension of invasion, for rumors were rife of 
approaching bands of rebels, and it was thought that any 
night we might be burned in our beds. So, in order that 
we might all die together, my mother had us, her four lit- 
tle ones, to sleep in her room. Our only wagon-road then 
to town was around by Ijondon West, over Blackfriar's 
bridge. I distinctly recollect, in the winter of 1837 and 

1838, the first Sunday after the arrival of the 32nd Regi- 
ment of foot, our coming to church in a lumber wagon 
drawn by oxen. When we reached Blackfriar's bridge the 


oxen were left fastened by a chain under the bridge, and 
we walked from there to the church; we children doubtless 
thinking less of the service we were going to, than of the 
soldiers we expected to see there, whom our youthful ex- 
pectations had pictured as men of gigantic stature, in 
gorgeous uniform, with towering plumed helmets. I shall 
never forget our sad disillusion, on seeing instead a body 
of men, seemingly small of stature, in gray winter over- 
coats and forage caps, marching up the church steps. The 
frame church, as I have said, faced the south, and had a 
high flight of steps in front. This church was for many 
years the largest Auditorium in town, and witnessed some 
notable gatherings. I was present there in the early forties 
at an oratoria given by Braham (the then world-renowned 
basso) and his son, just rising into fame as a singer. Lon- 
don being on the high road between Buffalo and Detroit, 
many distinguished artists used to tarry and perform at 
London, which otherwise would not have been of sufficient 
population to attract them. 

The Military Reserve, between Waterloo and Richmond 
Streets, extended from Dufferin Avenue (then Bond Street) 
on the south, to Carling's Creek, on the north. 'Tis said 
this twenty-four acres was originally intended as agricul- 
tural show grounds, but was handed over to the military 
at the time of the Rebellion. The first infantry barracks 
were entirely of logs; to the east of Wellington Street, 
about where Wolfe Street now is. Then followed frame 
barracks, west of Wellington ; the Artillery and Commis- 
sariat, at the north-east angle of Wellington and Bond. 
For years London had two Regiments of the Line and a 
Battery of Artillery, and later a Company of the Military 

Immediately on the arrival of the troops, guards were 
posted on the several bridges and roads entering the town, 
and no one was allowed to pass after nightfall who could 
not give the countersign. I remember the heavy gates on 
Blackfriar's bridge, erected by the Royal Engineers. When 
summer ,came and the river could be forded in many places, 
these became a laughing stock, and were removed. 

In those early days the country was a paradise for 
sportsmen. The Thames and its tributaries swarmed with 
fish, including speckled trout, and the woods abounded with 
game. I saw my father shoot a deer in a field of grain 
close to our residence ; and the howling of the wolves at 


night could frequently be heard. They were very destruc- 
tive to sheep and young stock. Nine dollars per scalp was 
the reward for their destruction — a great source of revenue 
to the Indians. 

Speaking of the Indians : They then formed a large 
portion of the population of this western peninsula, and 
used to come to town in numbers to trade for their peltries 
and baskets. Sleigh loads of deer for one dollar per car- 
cass was a common thing. Wild turkeys, quail, partridge 
and pigeons abounded within the present limits of the City 
of London. The flight of wild pigeons in the spring of the 
year would at times aimost darken the sky; a belt of them, 
for hours at a time, extending from horizon to horizon. 
The Thames was a great highway for the Indians; proces- 
sions of bark canoes passing and repassing constantly, and 
in the spring of the year lumberers, on rafts of pine timber 
from the Dorchester pineries, with their row of long sweeps 
at each end, would pass quickly on the way to Lake St. 
Clair. With the spring run of fish in the river, tons would 
be taken with seines and dip-nets, mostly suckers, but many 
mullet, bass, pike, and occasionally sturgeon and maski- 
nonje (lunges). In 1844 I witnessed the killing of a bear 
in the river, just under the court house, which had been 
chased from the woods into town. 

Shortly after London becoming a garrison town, my 
father was appointed chaplain to the troops. There were 
usually two Regiments of the Line and a Battery of Artil- 
lery in garrison. His Sunday duties were a drive of four 
miles, from his residence in London Township to the mili- 
tary service in .St. Paul's at 9 a.m., then followed the usual 
11 o'clock service ; after that a ride of seven miles, by the 
old winding road to St. John's, for an afternoon service, 
and back to St. Paul's for the evening, with week-day 
services in cottages and schoolhouses throughout the coun- 
try parts. 

During the Rebellion of '37 a large number of prisoners 
were confined in the London jail — about one hundred at one 
time, cruelly overcrowded. Seven of them were condemned 
and hung, and many banished to "Van Diemen's Land." 
My father attended the unfortunates in their last hours, 
and accompanied them to the gallows. It was a terrible 
harrowing time, particularly as he felt most keenly the un- 
due severity of their sentence. 


The frame church spoken of was destroyed by fire on 
Ash Wednesday, 1844, and the foundation of the present 
building was laid with great ceremony, by the Right Rev. 
John Strachan, Bishop of Toronto, on St. John's day that 
year. The military turned out in force, and the artillery 
fired a salute of twenty guns. Pending the completion of 
the new building, the congregation worshipped in the old 
Mechanics' Institute; a frame building, then standing on the 
court-house square. It was during service in this build- 
ing, on a Sunday in April, 1845, that the cry of fire an- 
nounced- the commencement of the great fire, whereby about 
150 houses were destroyed. Chief Justice Robinson was 
present ; the psalms of the day were being read. The exit 
from the hall was by one rather narrow staircase. On the 
alarm the people near the door began to go out ; Mr. 
Cronyn kept on reading, and the Chief Justice responding 
in clear, deliberate tones, until the entire congregation had 
quietly withdrawn. Thus, by the presence of mind of the 
Rector and Chief Justice, doubtless a panic, and probably 
serious accident, was averted. The fire had commenced in 
the Robinson Hall (the principal hotel at that time), just 
across the square from where they were at service. The 
Chief Justice's quarters were at the hotel, and his unselfish 
conduct in endeavoring to avert a panic, nearly cost him 
his baggage, which he had barely time to secure, and at 
some risk. With a squad of artillerymen under him, the 
Rector all day, until late in the night, worked at emptying 
the houses of their furniture ahead of the fare, which pur- 
sued them with relentless fury. Alas, in many instances, 
licking up the piles of furniture, which the salvagers 
thought they had left at a safe distance frona danger. At 
nightfall the Rector reached his house tired out, with his 
Sunday suit very much the worse for wear from the rough 
work in which he had been engaged. 

London, Ont., 15th April, 1902.